This American classic explores alternatives that might spring from the terrain of the California landscape. The idea of the American Dream is examined as the two search for authenticity in their prescribed roles in the family. Each admits to envying the role of the other. Sons of a desert dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash over a film script. Austin, the achiever, is working on a script he has sold to producer Sal Kimmer when Lee, a reckless petty thief, drops in. He pitches his own idea for a movie to Kimmer, who then wants Austin to junk his bleak, modern love story and write Lee's trashy Western tale.