Sammy Tigertail, a young half-Seminole, needs a place to hide. A drunken tourist has just dropped dead of a heart attack in the middle of an airboat ride. Misconstruing some advice from his Uncle Tommy, he dumps the tourist’s body in the river and leaves the reservation to camp in the Islands. He has brought along an authentic Gibson Super 400 electric guitar, having always wanted to teach himself how to play. His solitude is interrupted by a group of college students having a drunken party. He is about to steal one of their canoes and find another island, when one of the students, a girl named Gillian, discovers him and wants to come along for the adventure. When she threatens to wake the others, Sammy has no choice but to take her with him.
In Texas, Boyd is fired for insulting a customer. He has been carrying on an extra-marital affair with his co-worker, Eugenie Fonda, who was briefly famous as the mistress of a tabloid murderer. Eugenie, who has been sleeping with Boyd largely out of boredom and convenience, tells him she isn’t interested in carrying on their affair. Boyd is crushed. He is also unaware that his wife, Lily, has caught on to his philandering and has hired a private investigator, Dealey, to gather evidence for a divorce.
Honey tracks Boyd down and calls him at home, posing as a telemarketer offering a free trip to Florida as part of a timeshare promotion. Boyd seizes the opportunity to try and win Eugenie back, and she is intrigued enough by a trip to Florida to accept.
Honey borrows the airfare from her ex-husband, Perry Skinner, a crab fisherman and former marijuana smuggler. She also asks her son, Fry, if he can stay with him for a few days, while she entertains some guests from out of town.
Lily Shreave, despite assurances from Dealey that they have more than enough evidence for a quick and uncontested divorce, wants more explicit footage. Dealey realizes that she is no longer looking for evidence, only indulging a fetish, but agrees to follow Boyd and Eugenie to Florida.
Boyd and Eugenie arrive in Florida, and drive to the address given, surprised to find it is a trailer park. Outside the trailer Dealey is abducted by Louis Piejack, who is stalking Honey. While skateboarding past the trailer park, Fry catches sight of them.
On a new island, Dismal Key, Sammy is trying to find peace, but is distracted by Gillian’s chatty presence. She gradually wins him over with her adventurousness, resilience, and guitar skills.
Honey leads Boyd and Eugenie on a kayaking trip, during which Boyd’s obnoxiousness is fully on display. By a coincidence, they land on Dismal Key.
Fry is so preoccupied by worrying about his mother that he collides with a garbage truck on his skateboard, suffering a concussion. Skinner, who doesn’t trust the hospital to look after his son, puts a football helmet on him and drives with him to the docks. He has spotted Piejack tailing Honey’s kayak in a johnboat, and plans to follow them.
On Dismal Key, Honey reveals who she really is, and proceeds to give Boyd a rehearsed lecture on basic courtesy and consideration. Scornfully, Boyd shrugs it off and turns to leave with Eugenie. They find the kayaks gone—Sammy, mistaking them for intruders, has stolen them.
Dealey arrives on the island with Piejack, but Sammy finds them and knocks Piejack out. He then takes Dealey prisoner, mistaking him for the tourist’s ghost.
After Honey, Boyd, and Eugenie fall asleep, Sammy sneaks to their campsite to steal water. Eugenie wakes and follows him back, wanting the quickest possible way off the island. There, she meets Dealey, who confesses what Lily hired him to do.
Dealey borrows Gillian’s cell phone and calls the Coast Guard for air rescue. Sammy says that Eugenie and Gillian are leaving with him, whether they want to or not. Sensing her last opportunity, Gillian asks Eugenie for some privacy, and then finally succeeds in seducing Sammy.
Skinner arrives on the island, telling Fry to stay in the boat. Unwilling to comply, Fry jumps out and starts searching, running into Eugenie. With her jaded view of men, Eugenie is charmed by Fry’s intelligence and manners, and positively enchanted to hear that Honey’s ex-husband has charged into the wilderness to rescue her. Fry is suddenly overcome by vertigo, and Eugenie helps him back toward the camp.
In the morning, Honey, in a last-ditch attempt to get through to Boyd, makes him climb a tree with her to watch a magnificent sunrise. Needless to say, Boyd remains completely oblivious and unmoved. As they climb down, Piejack snatches Honey, and Boyd watches mutely as she is dragged away.
Sammy reconsiders whether he wants Gillian to go. The decision is taken out of his hands when a Coast Guard helicopter arrives. Dealey foolishly tires to paddle out in one of Honey’s kayaks, but tips it and is about to drown when Gillian dives in to keep him afloat. Fry encourages Eugenie to go too, and she follows Gillian and Dealey into the helicopter.
Fry goes searching for Honey again, and comes upon her and Piejack just as he is threatening Honey with a shotgun. Honey attacks Piejack in defense of her son, while Skinner and Sammy come running. Sammy sacrifices his Gibson, which Skinner uses for a killing blow on Piejack’s head. Skinner is shot in the hip, and Honey rushes him with Fry back to the mainland. Sammy disposes of Piejack’s body using his johnboat.
Boyd, left by himself, grabs Sammy’s canoe and takes off. On another island, he stumbles on a small religious group who have been expecting Jesus Christ to reappear on the water in a boat. They eagerly accept Boyd as their savior.
Sammy dumps Piejack’s body next to the tourist’s, and finds a new island, where he reconstructs the guitar. When he realizes that Gillian is searching the islands for him, he wonders whether or not he wants to keep hiding…
Eugenie quits her telemarketing job and, as a snub to Lily Shreave, sends her footage of two geckos having sex which she idly filmed on the island with one of Dealey’s cameras. Dealey offers Eugenie a job in his office. (“Just don’t try to get in my pants.”)
Characteristically, Boyd alienates even his religious followers, who kick him out of the group and leave him on the island with his canoe. Eventually he makes his way to the mainland, and is intrigued to hear a tourist couple from Chicago asking eagerly for a realtor…
Skinner and Honey get back together, while recovering from their injuries inflicted by Piejack. Fry is happy, but worried about whether his mother’s obsessiveness will drive them apart again. In the middle of dinner, the phone rings. With a huge effort, Honey decides not to answer it.