Lucio Seguila lives on a tiny island in the middle of the Rio Grande, which he claims is independent from both the United States and Mexico - convenient for a coyote guiding illegal immigrants across the border. He rules this small kingdom, Republica Libre de Seguilandia, in a firm but generous patriarchal style, sitting on his La-Z-Boy and enjoying the devotion of his three daughters, the companionship of his grandson, and a reluctant partnership in the criminal forays of his amoral son-in-law. Yet, Seguila and his family cannot escape the rush of the Rio Grande and the unusual gift it brings them.
In the wake of an unexpected flash flood, Simon Tucker, an American teenager who nearly drowns while on a marijuana border run, washes up on the shores of Seguilandia. Severely battered during the violent storm, Simon awakes to find that he has not only lost his memory but must fulfill the various contradictory expectations of his newfound family. Considered an angel, a long-anticipated boyfriend, and a high-stakes kidnap victim, the confused youth steals their serenity, the love of the youngest daughter, and eventually the life of the family patriarch. But even as the family is destroyed, we discover the seeds of its rebirth in a future that combines the swirling cultures that have disastrously collided.