1968. After the tragic loss of his father, young Mick Carter is sent by his grieving mother to a vast cattle station in the remote Pilbara owned by his Grandpa. At the station, Mick is the only child. The Outback attracts strong men that know the value of silence but that’s not Mick; he’s lost and lonely. The station is filled with a cast of charming misfits – Bill Stemple, a bravado-fuelled helicopter pilot returned from Vietnam; Little and Big John, stockmen with a secret; Jimmy Umbrella, an eccentric, slightly unhinged cook; and Taylor Pete, an Aboriginal jackaroo and budding activist.
When a cyclone hits, water rises and floods the dry land. In the middle of a flooded plane, Mick finds a dog covered with blue mud. Mick rescues him and calls him ‘Blue’. Mick and Blue become inseparable. Mick treats Blue as an equal, a companion, but as an Aboriginal elder tells him, Blue is more than a dog; he’s a Marlunghu (a trickster spirit). Mick and Blue get into their share of trouble and the boy and his dog become inseparable.
Grandpa resolves that Mick’s life be more than just play and is determined that Mick receive a formal education. The subsequent arrival of a beautiful tutor, Betty, complicates relationships - not just between Mick and Blue, but between Mick and Bill Stemple.
Betty starts to stir competitive rivalries in Stemple and Mick but, with the world in the throes of change that reach into even this remote landscape, Betty wants more than either of them can offer. Relationships between the Aboriginal community and white folk strain – this is a time of conflict and change not just for Mick, but for an entire country.
When he finds out he has to leave his beloved dog for boarding school in the big smoke, Mick runs away with Blue. Only a few kilometers away, Mick and Blue see a fire coming towards the station and must make a decision – to turn back and face responsibility and the pain of growing up, or escape from the forces pulling them apart.