Adam Beach and Evan Adams star as Victor Joseph and Thomas Builds-the-Fire, characters whose lives have been intertwined on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation since childhood. In 1976, Victor's father, Arnold, saved Thomas when the infant was tossed out of the window of his burning home. Unfortunately, the fire killed Thomas's parents. When the boys were 12 years old, a hard-drinking Arnold abandoned his wife, Arlene, and Victor to leave the reservation for good. Victor becomes hardened and cynical and resents Thomas's annoying questions and intrusions on his family. The boys grow up to be complete opposites: Victor is tall, handsome, cool, and athletic, while Thomas is a skinny bookworm in horn-rimmed glasses who seems oblivious to the way his constant patter annoys those around him.
When news of Arnold's death in Arizona reaches the reservation, Victor decides he should settle his father's affairs, but he lacks the funds to get to Arizona. Thomas offers to give him the money on the condition that he accompanies Victor on the trip, and the latter reluctantly agrees. Like most road movies, the physical trip becomes a metaphor for the inward journey that the two characters take toward maturity, reconciliation with past grievances, and true friendship.