A coming-of-age story set in a vast, cross-country landscape, Arcadia begins when twelve-year-old Greta's dad Tom (Academy Award nominated actor John Hawkes) wakes her up before dawn and crams her and her two siblings into a dented station wagon. They set off on a 3,000 mile journey from the New England woods to the California desert. On the way, Tom tells enchanting stories, paints pictures of a California paradise, and assures the kids that Mom will soon join them. Greta believes him at first, mesmerized by the strange new scenery and clinging to her stuffed bunny Harrison. Older sister Caroline nonchalantly accepts his stories, more focused on the boyfriend she's leaving behind. And nine-year-old Nat, too young to suspect a thing, is eager to see the epic Grand Canyon. But Tom's mood shifts as often as the landscape outside their window, and the kids soon find themselves in increasingly unpleasant and even dangerous situations. Mom's presence seems to recede further with every mile they travel.