Down and out John Link (Mel Gibson), an ex-husband, ex-convict, and ex-alcoholic with a runaway 18-year-old daughter whom he hasn't seen in four years, addresses his AA support group. If he only knew that his daughter Lydia Jane Carson (Erin Moriarty) has just accidentally shot her longtime junkie boyfriend, Jonah (Diego Luna), when his gang intruded on a family's residence and killed someone. As she is on the run from the gang, he soon will be. Link supports himself by his tattoo parlor that he runs in his dilapidated trailer that is located in a wasteland.
As the gang searches for Lydia she calls up dad, asking for $2,000. They make arrangements and he picks her up and takes her to his trailer. Not long after she sees the trailer in daylight, she says, "It kind of looks like you miss the comforts of jail." Ah, the little muddler of bad decisions has spoken! Anyway, somehow the bad druggie gang tracks down Link's remote trailer (in the dark!) and eventually wrecks it. Why it was done is a mystery. After all, they didn't really know that Lydia was hiding inside. But the jig is up and Link and daughter go on the lam.
As the two flee, there are various adventures and escapes that involve lowlifes, a seedy hotel, a chase by Confederate/Nazi bikers, etc. A trailer buddy has helped him (Kirby = William H. Macy, an undeveloped character). But eventually the bad guys capture the little duffer and Link has to rescue her. Will he make it? Will Lydia survive? Anyway, that is the plot.
Of significance in the film is the reconciliation, the restoration of the relationship between father and daughter, and this issue covers much of the movie's mid-section. The chemistry between the two leads works just fine, including the generational gap differences. Ultimately there is enough grit, witty dialog, and action so that Mel Gibson fans will not be disappointed.