After a young man named Ben Hawkins buries his mother on the grounds of his family's repossessed farm, he's taken in by a traveling carnival on its way to a stint on the outskirts of yet another impoverished Dust Bowl town. Ben's shackles and strange spiritual powers worry a blind mystic named Lodz, but the carnival's day-to-day manager, the diminutive Samson, insists that Ben remain. The decision irks head-rigger Jones, who senses there's chemistry between Ben and Sofie, a tarot-card reader whom Jones fancies. Meanwhile, in Mintern, California, an evangelical preacher named Brother Justin receives a "sign from God" that leaves him shattered and amazed - and awakened to the possibilities of his own mysterious powers. Back at the carnival, Ben debates whether or not he should remain with this bunch of "freaks" - but an unforeseen inspiration keeps him in the fold.