In 1977, Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska) abandons the security of city life and heads to Alice Springs, her intended starting point for an epic solo trek across 1,700 miles of treacherous and unforgiving Australian outback.
The route will take her from civilisation, into the wilderness and eventually to the crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
Locals are amused by this outlandish dream but they begin to take Robyn seriously when she camps out under the stars and works at a camel farm to earn the four animals she will need to carry her supplies in the scorching conditions.
Eventually, she acquires the camels and prepares to embark on her quest flanked by her beloved labrador Diggity.
National Geographic photographer Rick Smoland (Adam Driver) happens to cross paths with Robyn and he is intrigued by her expedition.
He persuades his editor to finance the trip and Robyn accepts the money on the proviso that Rick will be allowed to photograph parts of her journey for the magazine.
No woman is an island and as Robyn disappears over the horizon and into the unknown, she discovers that completing her physically gruelling odyssey will rely on the kindness of total strangers.