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November 1, 2021


Fayetteville, Arkansas


Matt McGowan

Grieving and more desperate by the minute, Fanny Harrod leaves Detroit in her deceased husband’s 1968 Pontiac Le Mans. In the front seat next to her is Bud, her 13-year-old stepson whom Fanny found out about days after she married the boy’s father. Fanny was just getting to know Bud – and getting used to the idea of being his stepmother – when her husband is killed in flight-training exercise in California.
She drives to the southwest corner of Missouri. Her brain muddled by sadness and sleep-deprivation, Fanny abandons Bud at a farm north of Cassville. She leaves the Le Mans too, keys in the ignition, and she hitches a ride to Fort Smith, Arkansas. Fanny keeps running, all the way to Southern California, where she thinks she needs to visit the place her husband died.
Unaware that Fanny has left him, Bud walks onto a farm and runs into the man who owns it. The farmer and his wife take him in, and Bud likes them right away.
Meanwhile, Barry County Sheriff Clifford Villines, who is trying to retire, embarks on an arduous and sometimes comedic effort to find the boy’s stepmother.

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