Moon is a ten year old boy who has been living in the woods with his father, a veteran of the Vietnam war. His father distrusts the government, and has decided he and his son will literally live outside of its laws and reach, hidden in the Alabama woods. Moon's father teaches him to read, hunt and survive in the woods, and maintain the wooden shelter they have built. After Moon's father dies, Moon tries to follow his dying father's last wishes, and go to Alaska to find others like them. However, he is caught and turned over to the local boys home. Moon escapes, gets caught again by a bully of a constable, and is sent to reform school. After Moon punches out the reform school bully, they become friends, and with another boy, escape to the woods. The three boys' lives are forever changed as they try to stay a step ahead of the vindictive constable, confront the hardships of survival, and gain a profound perspective on what life and family means.