A moving drama of tragedy and salvation based on a novel by Harry Crews. George Gattling (Paul Giamatti) is a psychologically scarred man who manages his emotional life through an obsession with wild birds. Gattling makes a living doing auto upholstery while living with his sister, Precious (Rusty Schwimmer), and her autistic son, Fred (Michael Pitt) with whom he shares a fascination with wild birds. Although George has an on-off relationship with Betty (Michelle Williams), a young psychology student, his most intense feelings are reserved for falcons. George's great passion is to capture birds and train them, so when Fred tragically dies in a drowning accident, George channels his grief into his newest obsession, a striking red-tailed hawk. As George struggles to keep the magnificent hawk in captivity and ensure its safety while attempting to train it, it may cost him what little he has left.