A boy yearns to fly in Robert Altman's whimsical youthquake parable. With the aid of seraphic Louise (Sally Kellerman), owlish Brewster (Bud Cort) constructs a pair of human-size wings in his Houston Astrodome nest to realize his dream. Meanwhile, conservative creeps, including a witchy "Star-Spangled Banner"-belting crone (Margaret Hamilton) and Brewster's skinflint boss (Stacy Keach), keep turning up dead covered with bird droppings; the Houston Establishment calls in blue-eyed, turtleneck-wearing "San Francisco super cop" Frank Shaft (Michael Murphy) to investigate. Brewster cooks his own goose, however, when he defies Louise's edict against sex and hooks up with Astrodome usher Suzanne (Shelley Duvall) after she impresses him (and saves him) by out-driving Shaft in her Road Runner. Despite her apparent sweetness, Suzanne ultimately will not compromise her comfortable home for flight with Brewster.