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The movie opens with footage from the 70s when a security guard was killed in a Michigan bank robbery during protests for the war. The group that was responsible was the Weather Underground which had three members. Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) is one of them, and has been hiding from the FBI for over 30 years until Oct. 3, 2011 when she drives to a gas station and is arrested.

At the newspaper, a young reporter, Ben Shepard (Shia LeBeouf) is given the assignment by Ray Fuller (Stanley Tucci) to follow up with the story to try and find the other guilty parties.

Jim Grant (Robert Redford) is a widowed single father to his 11 year old daughter Isabel (Jackie Evancho). He works as a defense attorney in Albany, NY and has been there for over 30 years, also hiding from the FBI as one of the guilty parties.

Ben's ex-girlfriend Diana (Anna Kendrick) is an FBI agent and he uses her as his contact for the story. She tells him to talk to a man named Billy Cusimano who is an old hippie, old friend of Sharon, and an old client of Jim's. He reveals to Billy that his home has been wire tapped for a while. He tells him "off the record" that Sharon has wanted to turn herself in for a while and mentions that Jim didn't want Sharon's case.

Ben looks up Jim on the internet and calls him, asking for a comment on Sharon's arrest since he has refused to take the case. Jim hangs up however Ben goes to his office to question him. Jim says that Sharon did not contact him and they have had no contact for this case. Ben doesn't know why Jim would turn down a national case. Jim is evasive but wishes Ben luck in his case.

Ben uses different contacts, paying them off for information, and finds that Jim had no SSN before 1979 and he finds a copy of Jim Grant's death certificate. Jim discovers through his findings that Jim is really Nick Sloan, another former Weatherman, and writes an article about it.

Jim's story is now on the news - he has been discovered and is wanted for murder. He takes Isabel on a trip to get away and they go to NYC. The FBI puts a tail on his brother in NYC, while Jim and Isabel sight see. They check into a hotel while at the same moment his face is being plastered all over the news behind them. He has several different licenses and IDs, and is now going by the name Mr. Graves.

While Isabel is sleeping, Jim says goodbye to her and leaves. His brother, Daniel Sloan retrieves the key and custody papers where they were hidden, but he has been being followed by the FBI. They track Daniel to the hotel and Jim is almost caught but manages to escape by pulling the fire alarm. Sharon Solarz refuses to provide any information to the FBI but agrees to talk to Ben. She talks about what was really going on at that time. She reveals that Jim and another Weatherman, Mimi (who has been hiding in Canada) had a love affair long ago. Ben talks to Daniel and later finds that the FBI searched his apartment - no probable cause. He wants to go to Michigan but his boss tells him no.

Jim goes to Milwaukee by train and hides in the bathroom while the train is searched (for someone else). He's there to find his old best friend Donal (Nick Nolte) who now owns a lumber yard. Donal discourages him from looking for Mimi, but tells him to contact former SDS member, history professor Jed Lewis (Richard Jenkins). Jed initially refuses to help Jim, but when he finds out that Jim has a young daughter, he uses his connections with their old radical friends to track down Mimi.

Mimi lives in California and imports marijuana into the U.S. aboard a sail boat as part of a big operation run by her boyfriend Mac McLeod. She sees Sharon on the paper and Mac tells her what's going on.

Ben has been watching old reels of footage nonstop. Ben begins to feel that Jim's actions make no sense for a guilty man. Defying his boss, he goes to Michigan to investigate the original crime. He meets with retired cop Henry Osborne who was the first person to investigate the robbery. He wants Osborne to help clear Jim's name. Osborne refuses to talk in front of his adopted daughter Rebecca and Ben realizes that he is hiding something important. Ben does some research, finding that Osborne had strong connections to Mimi's family before the bank robbery. Osborne acknowledges that if Mimi were to come forward with the information that Jim was not present at the robbery, Jim would be cleared of all charges. Later, Ben flirts with Rebecca. He learns of the Linder-Lurie company property near Canada.

Jim meets with Jed who is non to pleased to see him. He gives him information to find Mimi. Jim makes a call to someone and uses secret codes to find Mimi. Jim reaches Mac, who informs him that Mimi left to go "inland". Jim knows where she is going.

Jim and Mimi meet in a secluded cabin on the Linder-Lurie property. She is unapologetic about what happened 30 years ago but Jim argues that life has changed. Jim asks her to turn herself in so she can reveal that he wasn't involved for the sake of Isabel (Mimi's middle name). He doesn’t want to leave Isabel behind and repeat the mistake that he and Mimi made 30 years earlier by giving up their own daughter - Rebecca. He can't convince her however, since she doesn't regret her actions. Back in Michigan, Ben realizes that Jim is searching for Mimi, who can clear him of the charges, and that Rebecca is their daughter. He tells Rebecca to speak to her father.

The next morning, October 12, 2011, Mimi flees the cabin to sail to Canada just as Ben arrives at the Linder-Lurie property to find Jim. Ben reveals to Jim that he knows the truth about Rebecca. Jim tells Ben it's up to him now whether to reveal it or keep the secret.

Jim leaves the cabin to get the FBI to chase him instead of Mimi. Meanwhile, Osborne and is wife reveal to Rebecca who her birth parents are. Jim is captured by the FBI, however the next day Mimi turns her boat around and returns to the U.S. to give herself up. Jim is freed from jail and reunites with Isabel. Ben decides not to expose Osborne's actions of 30 years before and to protect Rebecca's true identity.

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