Annie Bell can't escape the dust. It's in her hair, covering the windowsills, coating the animals in the barn, and in the corners of her children's dry, cracked lips. It's 1934, and the Bell farm in Mulehead, Oklahoma, is struggling as the earliest storms of the Dust Bowl descend. The wheat harvests are drying out, and people are packing up their belongings as storms lay waste to the Great Plains. As the Bells wait for the rains to come, Annie and each member of her family are pulled in different directions. Annie's fragile young son Fred suffers from dust pneumonia; her headstrong daughter Birdie, flush with first love, is choosing a dangerous path out of Mulehead; and Samuel, Annie's husband, is plagued by disturbing dreams of rain. As Annie, desperate for an escape of her own, flirts with the affections of an unlikely admirer, she must choose who she is going to become.