In the gray autumn of Seattle, Claudia, an anthropology professor, is on edge.
Her marriage is over after she found out her husband and sister were having an affair. She’s reflecting on her perennial grief over the loss of her mother and her Mexican childhood with her, and how she moved to the U.S. to live with her white father as an adolescent. And she’s heading out to Neah Bay, where she’s been working on a record of Makah culture, mainly by interviewing an elder named Maggie.
Meanwhile, Maggie’s son Peter is returning to his home for the first time since he fled as a teenager, following his father’s mysterious death. Having built a nomadic life as an underwater welder, Peter feels adrift, in many ways ready to return home for closure, but in other ways still wracked with his own grief and fear around doing so. When he arrives home, Maggie’s hoarding and her dementia are a harsh reality he must face while back in the house where his father died.