A Vietnamese man looking for a better life embarks on a dangerous and eye-opening voyage to America in this powerful drama set during the late '60s.
Binh (Damien Nguyen) is a man in his early twenties who has never known his parents, though he is clearly of mixed-race parentage, which makes him an outcast in his community. Weary of being treated like an animal, Binh sets out to find his mother, only to discover she works as a servant for a wealthy white family who subject her to constant abuse.
When a household accident leads to his mother's death, Bihn decides to leave Vietnam for America, with his half-brother in tow. Unable to travel to America legally, Binh attempts to smuggle his way into the States aboard a ship; he's found out, and is sent to a prison camp in Malaysia, where he meets Ling (Bai Ling), a beautiful woman who has been forced into prostitution to support herself.
Befriending Ling, Binh eventually arranges for passage to America aboard a refugee ship, though the harrowing voyage claims the life of Binh's half-brother. Binh and Ling arrive in New York City as illegal aliens, and soon learn that life in America can be just as harrowing as what they left behind; eventually, Binh runs away, hoping to make his way to Texas where he's learned that his father is living.