When Harlan Carruthers (Edward Norton
), a charismatic cowboy who seems as if he would be much more at home in Monument Valley than in the San Fernando Valley, has a chance encounter with Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood
), a bored and restless suburban teenager, both of their lives are turned upside down. To Harlan, Tobe embodies all the purity and innocence impossible to find on the means streets of contemporary L.A., while Tobe is drawn to Harlan's poetic charm and romantic spirit.
Despite the obvious difference in their ages and backgrounds, and the growing opposition of Tobe's father, Wade (David Morse), the couple pursues their passionate, furtive romance until it becomes apparent that Tobe is unprepared for the intensity of Harlan's love. Then, things take a sudden, dangerous turn when Tobe discovers that Harlan is not at all what he appeared to be.