Richard Lazar is a failed novelist and an alcoholic, living in a trailer in Phoenix. Then he publishes a gritty memoir about his service in the Vietnam War and becomes an almost instantaneous success. Sent on a book tour by his publisher, Richard encounters his biggest fan: an awkward, depressed student named Vance. Vance has plenty of problems of his own. So when he volunteers to chauffeur Richard for the rest of the tour, the two of them wind up on a hilariously disastrous cross-country road trip, gradually coming to bond as only two misanthropes can.