Looking to leave their run-down life behind, little Sammy Ayers and his mother board a bus bound for Georgia hoping for a new start. But Sammy's dream is soon dashed when he awakens the next morning to find his mother has vanished. He responds by pretending not to hear or speak. Bus station manager Norman Jenkins (Tom Skerritt) and waitress Lucille (Judith Ivey) befriend Sammy and offer him a place to stay. For the next twenty years, Sammy (Matthew Modine) continues to pull the wool over the eyes of everyone in town by remaining silent. When he overhears a scheme that could hurt the people he loves, he enlists the help of an unlikely ally - the wily local trash hauler (James Earl Jones).
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