Synopsis by Mark Deming
Can a woman find love and fulfillment while spending half a year in hiking boots? Olivia (Amy Cale Peterson) is a medical school student whose life and studies have been taking a turn for the worse. Deciding she needs to boost her confidence and get back to nature, Olivia decides to hike the Appalachian Trail, a demanding 2,170-mile path that stretches from Maine to Georgia. Olivia has also decided to "thru-hike" the trail -- cover the entire distance in one go over the space of six months. The physical challenges of the extended hike eats into Olivia's spiritual journey at first, and it doesn't help that she soon gains an unwanted traveling companion, Slackpack (Chris McCutchen), a well-meaning but overbearing man who seems a bit out of shape for the task ahead of him. Just as Olivia has started getting used to Slackpack, she discovers another powerful distraction. Rollin (Scott Speiser) is a handsome, soft-spoken hiker who crosses Olivia's path when he hurts his leg. Olivia helps Rollin patch himself up and get back on the road, and it isn't long before they develop a powerful rapport. While Olivia and Rollin clearly belong together on the trail, they begin to wonder if they have a future together when the hike had ended. Southbounders was the first feature film from writer and director Ben Wagner.