Close to the entrance to Death Valley is the God-forsaken town of Trona. It's nearly empty: dry, with polluted water and poisoned soil. Dilapidated houses hold slackers and stoners. The town is virtually owned by Dirk, a heartless young meth dealer. In the midst of this lives Ray Tuckby, unhappily married with a slothful son. The highlight of Ray's day is chatting with Nora, a clerk at the market. When Ray comes home early from work and finds his wife in bed with his brother, a few things start to change. Then he meets Merl, who's putting in a Chevron station, and Merl encourages Ray to dream. Can he? A recipe for meringue may hold one of the keys.