In the backwaters of Arkansas along the Mississippi River are two river rats out on a small john boat heading toward a mysterious island. The boys Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) are heading to see a boat that is in a tree. The boat must have gotten in the trees when the river had flooded some time ago. When they are searching the boat they realize that someone is living on it. As they are leaving they run into a man called Mud (Matthew McConaughhey) .
Mud had been living on the boat and hiding from the law. Mud in a fit of rage had killed a man. He had a girlfriend by the name of Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) who had gotten pregnant by another man. Juniper had supposedly been pushed down some stairs and lost the baby.
Mud at first had talked to the boys just about bringing him some food, but then Ellis sees Juniper at the Piggly Wiggly. Ellis wants to get the boat back in the water so Mud and Juniper can escape down the river together.
Now here's the problem the man Mud had killed had Kin. His father is King Carver (Joe Don Baker) fairly well to do man for these parts. He hires a bunch of men and has some of the law on his payroll looking for Mud.
Now Mud has some friends and one is Tom Blankenship (Sam Shepard). Now with all these men out searching you'd think it would be no problem finding Mud.
Ellis in the meantime had problems of his own. His parents were splitting up. Problem was his Mom Mary Lee (Sarah Paulson) wanted to give up the house boat and move to town. His father Senior (Ray McKinnon) made his living on the river and didn't want to give it up. Times were a changing.
This is a very interesting tale of lost love and life lost. Ellis and his parents had always lived on the river and moving would be a dramatic change. Law in these parts comes in many forms and sometimes it doesn't always match what we call civil law.
Director Jeff Nichols brings a poignant tale of growing up and also ties to what is real. Family is real and sometimes we may feel they are wrong but they are family. He also brings us to our roots for you see people have been living on the mighty Mississippi River for so long time has forgotten them. This is one of the better movies that has come out in the past couple of years. Enjoy.