In 1937, Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro), and Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson) escape from a chain gang at Parchman Farm and set out to retrieve the $1,200,000 in treasure that Everett claims to have stolen from an armored car and buried before his incarceration. They have four days to find it before the valley in which it is hidden will be flooded to create Arkabutla Lake as part of a new hydroelectric project. Early in their escape, while still chained together, they try to jump onto a moving train, but are dragged off when Pete trips. They then encounter a blind man (Lee Weaver) traveling on a handcar. They hitch a ride, and he tells their futures. They “seek a great fortune” and they will “find a fortune, though it will not be the one they seek.” They will also see many wonders on their journey, including a “cow on the roof of a cotton house.