Logline: When three young boys find themselves stranded in the woods following a camping mishap, the trio quickly puts aside their differences to find their way home and-- on the way-- discover life-long friendship.
Mike, Zach and Jimmy are three young classmates whose upbringings have been vastly different from one another. Zach has a seemingly dismissive mother, whose efforts to provide for the family often leave her without time to focus on Zach. Jimmy-- on the other hand-- has an overbearing mother, whose constant attention often leads Jimmy to feel somewhat suffocated. While Mike's relationship with his mother seems relatively normal, the looming marriage between his mother and his stepfather creates a clear rift in Mike's comfort and happiness. The three boys have planned a camping trip which they believe will create the experience of a lifetime (or at least one great enough to become the topic of their summer essay assignment for school). Prior to the trip, it is clear that-- while Mike is good friends with both of the other boys-- Zach and Jimmy do not get along. Zach sees Jimmy as a loser whose mother has made him weak, while Jimmy sees Zach as a delinquent whose constant antics keep him from being a decent friend. It is revealed at this time that the common thread between the three boys is that all of them have lost their fathers. When the boys are dropped off at the camp site, Zach suggests that they go off exploring before checking in. Mike quickly agrees; Jimmy is hesitant, but comes along. They steal a rowboat that is sitting on shore and cross a rushing river to begin their adventure. They safely venture to the other side, and-- after a bit of exploration-- decide to go back to the campground to check in with the site. As they begin to push off into the water, Zach accidentally creates a hole in the bottom of the boat-- leaving them stranded. The boys determine that the boat is unusable, and that the river is running too fast for them to swim across-- leading to a minor meltdown on Jimmy's behalf. Tensions between Jimmy and Zach run high for a moment, but quickly subside. They pull a map out of their belongings and decide the only way to get home is to hike about 45 miles down in order to get home. They begin their trek towards home. After hiking for a while, they decide to set up camp for the night. Jimmy is the first to fall asleep-- leaving Zach and Mike alone. Zach asks Mike how he's feeling about his mother's marriage. Mike admits that he's not. Zach tells Mike that he's lucky to have a stepfather who loves him, instead of one who beats him. Zach's words hit Mike hard, and he starts to realize that he may actually be in a good situation. The next morning, the boys are getting ready for their day when Zach leaves for a moment to use the restroom. At this time, Jimmy expresses his dislike of Zach. He asks Mike why he's friends with Zach, and Mike doesn't do much to defend him-- even agreeing that it would be better if Zach would "stop being an asshole." Zach overhears a bit of this conversation, but elects not to say anything at the time. Later that day, the boys discover that they are utterly lost in the woods-- walking in circles with no sense of direction. In a moment of frustration, Zach reveals that he overheard Mike and Jimmy's conversation earlier. Jimmy unapologetically confronts Zach. The two begin to argue-- culminating with Jimmy punching Zach in the face. Mike goes to Jimmy's aid-- infuriating Jimmy. Jimmy decides that Mike has betrayed him, and decides to find his own way home. He storms off into the woods on his own. Mike and Zach decide to set up camp for the night. Mike is clearly feeling guilty about allowing Jimmy to go off on his own. He falls asleep and has a haunting nightmare in which Jimmy has been killed. In the dream, Mike and Zach find Jimmy's broken body-- which comes back to life briefly to blame Mike for not stopping the fight. Mike abruptly wakes up-- alerting Zach. Mike says that he's going to go find Jimmy, and-- while he is initially hesitant-- Jimmy reluctantly agrees to come along. Mike and Zach find Jimmy hiding in a log surrounded by coyotes. Thinking on his feet, Jimmy pulls sandwiches out of his bag and lures the animals away, thus saving Jimmy's life. Jimmy emerges from his hiding place-- genuinely grateful to Zach for helping him out of his predicament. The tension between them disintegrates as they apologize for the fight and move forward. They continue their journey-- filling the time with conversations about girls and school. They sit down to eat, but realize they have very little food left. When Jimmy reminds Zach that he brought a fishing rod, they decide that the best way to get a decent meal is to fish for it. Though it's not an easy task, they eventually catch a fish-- allowing them to eat for the night. That night, they sit around a campfire eating fish and discussing life. The boys compare their parents and Jimmy reveals that he can't stand how overprotective his mother is--stating that he would rather have a mother who let him make his own decisions. Zach says that he should just tell her this, explaining that she would most likely understand that he's growing up and needs some freedoms. This leads to a conversation about school at which time Zach reveals that he's been held back a grade, and that the only way he's going to get to move forward in school is if he creates a well-crafted summer essay. Jimmy explains that he would have helped Zach in school if he would have been nicer to him. After a few moments, Zach asks Mike if he'd want to stay with him while his mom and stepfather are on their honeymoon. Mike says that his parents would probably be hesitant. Zach asks if this is because his parents think he's a troublemaker. Though Mike and Jimmy attempt to reassure Zach that he's not the problem, Zach grows upset at his past decisions-- segueing into a flashback. In the flashback, Zach breaks a vase belonging to Mike's family while he and Mike are playing in the house. Zach's mother-- who had been speaking with Mike's family-- apologizes for Zach's actions, then very aggressively tells him to go wait in the car. She drives Zach home, then drags him into the house by his wrist. She demands that he go to his room-- showing very little sympathy for her son in doing so. The story returns to the present. Mike reassures Zach that they are going to find their way home. The boys then continue their travels through the forest-- seemingly in good spirits. That night, the boys set up camp and start discussing the "worst thing they've ever done." Jimmy's is a scholastic error in which he didn't turn in an assignment on time. Mike's is when he broke a window with a baseball. Zach says that his is much worse. He explains that he once made the fire department come to the school after supergluing a teacher to a chair. He explains that he's never told anyone about that-- implying that he's now become more comfortable with both Mike and Jimmy. Jimmy then goes on to explain how he and Zach are losers, and that it's no wonder no one is looking for them. Zach states that he doesn't think that Jimmy is a loser, and that he'd much rather hang out with Mike and Jimmy than his more troublesome friends. The next morning, the boys are discussing what their next move should be when Mike leaves to use the restroom. Suddenly, Zach begins screaming. Mike rushes back to the campsite to find Jimmy pinned under a branch. As he begins to freak out, Jimmy reveals that this was just a prank he and Zach were pulling, moves the branch and stands up. Enraged, Mike shoves Jimmy to the ground, screams at Zach, then walks away and isolates himself near a pond. Jimmy and Zach watch somewhat bewildered. After a Mike has been away from the group for a while, Zach decides to go talk to him. He asks why he got so upset about the prank, and Mike reveals that it's because it reminded him of his father's death. Zach fires back-- reminding him that he's not the only one who has lost his father. Mike and Zach argue briefly before Mike screams that he's selfish, and he feels guilty for it. He goes on to say that he's been feeling apprehension about his mother's wedding because he just wants things to be right in his family again-- implying that it can't go back to normal without his biological father. Mike begins to cry as Zach reassures him that his family is going to be fine, and that Jack (Mike's stepfather) is a good man. Mike appreciates Zach's reassurance, and-- after a few moments-- embraces Zach's words. The pair rejoins Jimmy as they figure out the next step on their journey. As they continue through the woods, it suddenly begins to rain-- stranding them under a tree. While they wait out the storm, Mike spots a light in the distance. They run over to check it out, discovering a cabin. They rush inside to escape the rain. Once they enter, they realize that the cabin-- owned by one of the wealthy families in town-- is stocked with food. Once they've had their fill, they begin to search for something to do. Mike suggests they watch a movie. The trio begins to look through the VHS collection in the house. Zach and Mike complain about how they can only find children's movies when Jimmy enters with a tape he found hidden in another room. It's a porno. The boys excitedly put it into the player... only to be completely and utterly disgusted by the content. They quickly turn it off after a few moments. They eventually give up on the television all together and flop down on the couch-- bored and at a loss regarding how to stay occupied. Zach walks into the kitchen looking for something to drink. He finds some beers and brings them back into the living room. He offers them to Mike and Jimmy. Though hesitant at first, they toast to themselves and their eventual escape and begin drinking. A couple beers later, the boys are drunkenly laughing and dancing to loud music. Jimmy expresses his love for his friends, then passes out. Zach and Mike laugh at Jimmy's plight, but quickly succumb to the alcohol as well. The boys wake up the next morning-- extremely hungover. Jimmy is puking in the bathroom, and Mike isn't friends with the sunlight. Mike finds Zach sitting alone on the porch, looking sullen and upset. When Mike approaches him, Zach laments that he's a bad influence on Mike and Jimmy-- regretting the decision to have brought out the alcohol in the first place. Mike reassures Zach that he'd help him get his life together. Zach (overwhelmed by Mike's gesture) embraces Mike and thanks him. The pair makes their way back inside to find Jimmy sitting at the table rubbing his head. As they begin to eat, Zach exclaims that Mike is going to help him out. Jimmy states that he'd be willing to help as well. Zach embraces Jimmy (who is a bit taken aback by the gesture). They clean up and leave the cabin-- resuming their homeward adventure. As they continue their hike, they come across a mucky swamp which impedes their journey. They are forced to wade through the body of water-- rendering them even more dirty than before. They get through the swamp, and continue on. That afternoon, they feast on hot dogs that they stole from the cabin. Jimmy laments that he's done being treated like a child. The other boys push him to talk with his mother about the issue. He says that he's afraid of growing up without having his mother's deep support. Mike states that everyone has to grow up eventually. Jimmy agrees-- relieved by the fact that he'll grow up knowing that he has friends like Mike and Zach. They discuss the newfound depth of their friendship brought on by this journey, expressing that -- no matter what life throws at them-- they will always be friends. Later that day, the boys discover a lake with a cliff over the water. Zach and Jimmy excitedly run towards the water, but Mike hangs back-- saying that he'd rather not go in. The other boys don't listen to his pleas, and throw him into the lake. Mike emerges and-- despite his initial hesitation-- finds himself enjoying the water. After a few moments, they rush over to the cliff. Mike reveals that he's afraid of heights, but-- with Zach and Jimmy's support-- jumps off and into the water. The boys laugh and play when Jimmy fakes another injury. Not impressed, Zach and Mike call him out. Jimmy decides to jump again, only-- this time-- he actually does get hurt. His foot strikes a rock. Mike and Zach help him out of the water and examine the injury. They determine that it's just a sprain, but that Jimmy should still take it easy. They decide to spend the night at the lake. Mike and Zach express their excitement at almost being home as the moon rises over the lake. The next day, they continue their journey home with Jimmy's assurance that his ankle is healed enough to walk. As they hike, the boys expound on how they're going to miss the feeling of independence-- that it makes them feel older. They discuss the prospect of telling their parents of their adventure, and-- though he was apprehensive before-- Mike believes that they should eventually reveal the story of their week. After walking for a while later, the boys come upon a road. They excitedly hurry to the street-- thrilled at their triumphant return! The follow the road back towards the town, excited to have returned to society. They finally make it back to their homes-- filthy enough that the neighbors take notice. Each boy addresses their family with the issues that they wish to resolve: Jimmy tells his mother that he wants to be treated his own age. His mother agrees-- assuring him that he'll still be her baby. Zach embraces his mother and tells her that he's going to get his life together. Mike tells his mother and his stepfather that he approves of their union and is excited for the wedding. In the end, the boys reconvene. The boys all reveal that they used their adventure as the topic of their summer assignment, then ride off-- heading towards whatever their next adventure holds.