NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy

The film opens sometime in the future. The United States has fallen into a Second Civil War, with Texas and California seceding and forming the Western Forces militia, and Florida creating its own alliance. The nation’s three-term President (Nick Offerman) makes a speech over the WF taking a severe hit from the Loyalist states, calling it a major victory. Photojournalist Lee Smith (Kirsten Dunst) watches the speech from her hotel room in New York City, while she sees a bombing occurring downtown.

The following day, Lee joins her colleague Joel (Wagner Moura) as they go downtown in the middle of a protest. A younger journalist, Jessie Cullen (Cailee Spaeny), gets struck in the face in the middle of the chaos, and Lee goes to take care of her and give Jessie her fluorescent vest. Lee then notices a woman running into the crowd with an American flag and ducks for cover with Jessie, as the woman charges in and suicide-bombs the crowd. Once the noise has settled, Lee and Jessie take pictures of the aftermath.

Lee and Joel later join their mentor Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson) at a hotel party for other journalists. They are planning to drive through the country’s war zones to make it to Washington DC for an interview with the President, even though he considers the press to be enemies. They know the trip is going to be dangerous, and despite his age, Sammy insists he join them to go to the front lines in Charlottesville, Virginia. Jessie overhears and approaches Lee, as Jessie considers her to be her idol and wants to get pictures of the war as it is unfolding.

The group gets ready to head out the next day, with Lee seeing Jessie joining them. She and Joel have a not-very-discreet conversation about both Jessie and Sammy being with them, but Joel assures her they will be no trouble. After driving for some time, they stop to fuel up, which they are only allowed to do in exchange for Canadian currency. One of the gunmen leads Jessie away, where Lee follows. He brings her to see two looters hanged by their wrists after being severely tortured. The gunman gives Lee and Jessie the option to give him the call to execute them. Lee just asks him to pose alongside the men for a picture before he kills them offscreen. When they hit the road, Jessie complains that she didn’t capture a single photo.

The group stops at an abandoned mall so that Jessie can take pics of a downed helicopter, while also apologizing to Lee about if she seems like a load to travel with, but Lee doesn’t care. At night, they sit and watch the gunfire going on in the distance as it lights up the sky.

Moving on, the four must pass through a sniper zone, staying alive while also getting the perfect shots. They witness as several men are shot in front of them. The group follows the allied militia gunmen up the building where they take the sniper out and capture the rest of his men.

The four then arrive at a refugee camp. In the middle of relaxing and feeding themselves, Lee and Jessie continue to bond while Jessie develops photos that she took during the sniper hunt. Jessie brings up the start of Lee’s career, where she got the perfect shot of an Antifa Massacre event. Lee tells Jessie that she took great photos. The group then spends the night in good company.

Continuing their journey, the four stop in a town that appears unaffected by the ongoing war, as people are seen living peacefully. The group stops to change clothes, and Joel asks the shop owner if they are aware that there is a civil war going on across the country, but the woman tells Joel that the town is choosing to ignore it.

Later on, the group sees that a car is speeding to catch up to them. Fearing the worst, they are surprised that it’s Joel’s reporter friends from Hong Kong, Tony (Nelson Lee) and Bohai (Evan Lai). Tony climbs in through the window of the group’s van for fun, and Jessie does the same going into Tony’s car with Bohai. They drive further up until the other journalists see that the other car has stopped with both doors open. They find themselves confronted by Loyalist gunmen who have been murdering people passing by and dumping them into shallow graves. The head gunman (Jesse Plemons) shoots Bohai and leaves the others quietly panicking. Joel tries to talk him down by saying they are Americans. When the gunman learns Tony is from Hong Kong, he shoots him too. Sammy then drives the van and kills the gunman and one of his guys before getting Lee, Joel, and Jessie back inside. One remaining gunman fires at them as they drive away.

Escaping the gunmen, Jessie vomits in the back while Sammy tells Lee and Joel he can no longer drive because he’s been shot. Joel takes over the car and drives until they make their way to a Western Forces military base in Charlottesville, driving through a burning forest. By the time they arrive at the camp, Sammy has already died from his wounds. The group meets with a British reporter named Anya (Sonoya Mizuno). It is said that some Loyalist generals have already surrendered, which makes all the trouble they went through, including losing Sammy, incredibly pointless.

Lee, Joel, and Jessie join the WF as they make their way into Washington with intent to storm the White House and get their hands on the President. Once they enter the war zone, Jessie becomes as ready as ever to get her pictures, while Lee remains in shocked numbness to what’s going on. The journalists take cover as the WF tanks mow through the remaining Loyalist forces before they make their way to the heavily guarded White House. The Secret Service appears to be taking the President with them, but the soldiers know it’s a decoy.

The group makes their way into the White House, where they are met by more armed Secret Service agents. Jessie nearly gets in the way, but Lee pushes her out and takes a bullet for her. Jessie ends up taking multiple pictures of Lee’s final moments before she and Joel get into the Oval Office, where the WF soldiers hold the President down. Joel, filled with anger over losing his friends, then kneels to ask the President for a single quote. He begs Joel not to let the soldiers kill him, to which Joel responds with “That’ll do.” The President is executed, and Jessie gets a great shot of it.

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In the near future, a Second Civil War has broken out across the United States, with states like Texas and California seceding in the wake of the corrupt President's administration and creating the Wester Forces militia, and Loyalist states forming their own militia to take out any adversaries. Four journalists - Lee, Joel, Sammy, and Jessie - take a trip through the war zones from New York to Washington DC to try and get an interview with the President.

On their journey, the group comes across many war-torn parts of the country, while Jessie and Lee bond since Jessie has always viewed Lee as an inspiration for becoming a photojournalist. After coming across Loyalist gunmen who kill two Hong Kong reporters that Joel was friends with, Sammy runs the gunmen over and saves his friends but ends up taking a bullet and dies before the group meets with Western Forces soldiers. Learning that many Loyalist generals have surrendered only enrages Joel for all the pointless trouble they went through, including losing Sammy.

Lee, Joel, and Jessie join the WF as they storm Washington with the goal of capturing and killing the President. After making their way inside, Lee is killed after saving Jessie from getting shot by Secret Service. Joel and Jessie enter the Oval Office as soldiers have taken the President down. He begs Joel for mercy, but he and Jessie watch as the President is executed, and Jessie captures a picture of it for the press.