In the quiet of Hog’s Hollow, each member of the River family pursues a dream.  Old Man River sets out to build a fallout shelter in case the war in Vietnam "brings the end of everything;" his wife Flo, who collects Gone with the Wind dolls, attempts to pen her own Southern saga; Beau, their older son, suffers from "space fever" and aspires to be an astronaut.  As for Danny, the younger River boy, well, he just dreams of having a dog.  Then in the spring of 1965 tragedy befalls the Rivers -- their son Beau falls to his death in the Old Man’s partially-built fall-out shelter.  Everyone’s dream dies with him. 

The only one there when it happened was Danny -- was he somehow responsible for something too awful to bear?  Or was it the kid from up the street, Dopey Colvig, who never came to the River house “just to play” -- did he push Beau to his death?  Why is Danny so afraid of telling the truth?

Months later a stray dog wanders into the Hollow and attaches himself to Danny, who wants nothing to do with anything that might bring him happiness.  The parents, hoping the dog might bring comfort to their grieving son, are the ones who feed and care for him. 

But Danny’s the one who gradually figures out this mixed-breed stray named Rocket embodies the spirit of someone he dearly loved.  Not only that.  This dog know things only he and his brother could have known.  Everything becomes clear on the day Rocket refuses to ride in the poopmobile, the Old Man’s sanitation truck, just as Beau had once refused to ride in it.  As Danny looks deeply into his dog’s eyes, he sees the most amazing thing – his brother Beau is alive and well inside Rocket.  Unfortunately Danny’s the only one who sees this.

The world changes forever on the day Rocket bites Dopey Colvig, the person likely responsible for Beau’s death.  The police confiscate the dog and deliver him to the pound, but Rocket escapes and makes the rendezvous with Danny in the secret fort.  Together they decide to run away -- but where? 

      They believe the only person who might help them is the astronaut Gus Grissom, who had been Beau’s hero and had once written a letter inviting him to visit Cape Canaveral. 

So that’s where the boy and his dog go, one thousand miles from home.  That’s the place where the Gemini missions blast off from, and the place where dreams come true.