In the waning days of the hippie movement, along a stretch of San Francisco Bay known as Waldo Point, hundreds of young people live in an improvised community of off-kilter houseboats, taking inspiration from their guru, garrulous eighty-four-year-old Achille Palaiologos. A change in property ownership threatens the community’s existence: the new owner, a developer, wants everyone evicted. The houseboaters fight back, enlisting in their cause Legal Aid attorney Rick Spenser. Battles ensue, both legal and physical, in the courts and on land and water. After a daring act of sabotage upends the developer’s plans, the houseboaters split into bitterly opposed factions over whether or not to propose a compromise plan. Meanwhile Rick, though supposedly committed to girlfriend Tiffany Wong, is attracted to houseboat leader Becky Yates. Both these conflicts culminate in a day and night of tragedy, betrayal and fear. In the aftermath, Rick strives to repair his relationship with Tiffany, while Rick and Becky together struggle to save the community and end the houseboat wars.