This film, based on an actual account, tells the story of Charles Horman, an American writer who disappears while in South America. Living and working in Chile during the time of the coup in 1973, Horman (John Shea) uncovers some sensitive information that ultimately endangers his life and the lives of his friends. In his quest for facts surrounding the unexpected military coup that topples Chiles democratically elected government, Horman finds that the United States was not oblivious to the sudden shift in political power. His persistence and curiosity in the matter leads to his disappearance, and the remainder of the film details the difficulty his family members encounter in determining his whereabouts. Beth, played by actress Sissy Spacek, is forced to work with Charlie's father Ed (Jack Lemmon) to find her husband who vanishes one day. A politically conscious and culturally accepting individual, Beth must battle with both her conservative and disapproving father-in-law and apathetic U.S. government officials to obtain any information regarding her husband. A mutual disgust for the United States lack of concern and support helps Beth and Ed to slowly reconcile their differences. The search leads them on a tremendous roller coaster ride, their hopes for finding Charlie diminishing around each turn. Their worst nightmare is confirmed, under some suspicious circumstances, and Charlie is determined to have died shortly after his disappearance. The two leave the country exhausted, distraught, and angry with the U.S. for being unhelpful and deceitful.