Claire Silver is ambitious, driven, and idealistic. She has her dream job. But she’s not sure that she wants it any longer because her boss, legendary Hollywood producer Michael Deane, has not produced any films in a very long time. He has managed to score a hit with a reality television program, but Claire is mulling over an opportunity to leave her artistic mark on the world by accepting a job with a film museum.
Would-be screen writers pitch their ideas to Michael and Shane Wheeler has come to Hollywood to pitch his last chance — Donner! It is a maudlin story about a man determined to summon help and save his family, stranded in 1846 atop the Donner Summit by unseasonable storms that prevent the wagon train they are part of from crossing into California. Shane has failed at his marriage and his attempt to be a serious writer and is banking on his idea launching his career and redeeming him.