Whippersnapping whiz kid Francis Ford Coppola based his early effort The Rain People (1969) on his own short story "Echoes," a compassionate tale that really comes to life on screen thanks to the tip-top talents and tantalizing tail of Shirley Knight. Shirl plays a housewife who feels tied down and trapped, and now that she's pregnant she figures it's lights out for her independence. Unable to handle that reality, Shirley hightails it out of there and hits the road. Hitchhiker James Caan strikes her fancy, and though he's addlepated enough to qualify as a lower life form, she digs his company and his childlike duncery, bringing him along for her adventures. Waking up to the wider world (and baring a bit of sweater squirrel), Shirley meets a menagerie of eccentrics and starts to dig her independence . . . but will an ugly turn of events return her to the life she thought she'd escaped?