An aging societal outcast and a motherless duck set out to find shelter and meaning in a future where people are separated by as many degrees as they are connected. The year is 2009, and the last public park in Los Angeles has been closed to the public. The city is a desert, and dispossessed widower Arthur Pratt (Philip Baker Hall) has outlived his usefulness. A retired history professor who spent all of his savings caring for his beloved late wife, Arthur sets out to the park where his son and dearly departed are buried to pay his final respects before ending his own life. Arthur's grim westward march hits an unexpected hitch, however, when an orphaned duckling that has recently cheated death adopts the homeless septuagenarian as a surrogate mother figure. Once again displaced when their park becomes a landfill and their pond is drained, the unlikely pair embarks on a Sisyphean journey to find shelter and meaning in a world where their lives seem to have little value.