In a small Florida tourist town named Ticlaw, the mayor/preacher Kirby T. Calo (William Devane) also operates a hotel and tiny wildlife safari park. The town’s major draw is a water-skiing elephant named Bubbles.
When the state highway commission builds a freeway adjacent to the town, Calo slips an official $10,000 to assure an off ramp. The ramp does not come, so the townsfolk literally paint the town pink to attract visitors.
Meanwhile, tourists from various parts of the United States, shown in a series of concurrent, ongoing vignettes, are heading to Florida and will all end up in Ticlaw, one way or another. They include a pair of bank robbers from New York (George Dzundza, Joe Grifasi) who pick up a cocaine-dealing hitchhiker (Daniel Stern); a Chicago copy machine repairman and aspiring children’s book author (Beau Bridges), who picks up a waitress (Beverly D’Angelo), who is carrying her deceased mother’s ashes to Florida; a dentist and his dysfunctional family (Howard Hesseman, Teri Garr, Peter Billingsley, and Jenn Thompson), vacationing cross-country in their RV; an elderly woman (Jessica Tandy) with a drinking problem and her loving husband (Hume Cronyn), who are heading to Florida to retire; two nuns (mother superior Geraldine Page, novice nun Deborah Rush); and a wannabe country songwriter (Paul Jabara) hauling a playful rhino and other wild animals to Ticlaw.