Wendy Carroll (Michelle Williams) is a homeless woman driving cross-country with her dog, Lucy, and sleeping in her car at night to save money and stay warm. One morning, her car won’t start. Her funds are limited, and she finds herself at the mercy of the local mechanic (Will Patton). She panics and shoplifts some dog food. She is caught and arrested. While she is paying the fine, Lucy disappears.
So begins the emotional sojourn that constitutes a small but moving film directed by Kelly Reichardt and co-written by Reichardt and Jonathan Ray mond. We learn that Wendy is from Indiana, where her unsympathetic sister lives, and that she is on her way to Alaska, where she hopes to find good-paying work at a cannery. Beyond those details, she appears to be just one of the many faceless homeless people who sleep where they can, use gas stations’ bathrooms to wash and dress, and try to maintain their dignity despite the sneers and stares of those around them.