An adopted Aboriginal boy, Russell is a troublemaker who has been suspended from school and arrested. The narrative sees him fly to Bourke, the town where he was born, with his white foster father, John. The trip is John's way of trying to find an opportunity to communicate with his foster son before it's too late. For John the trip is simply a tick-off list - visit the Bourke District Hospital, visit the Aboriginal reserve, go for a swim, etc. For Russell, however, the trip is much more personal. When John leaves him alone briefly Russell tries to get hold of as much as he can, including his birth mother's name and a handful of earth which he puts into his pocket. He also experiences racism by a white hotel manager.