A group of Americans in Northern California in 1984 are struggling with the consequences of their lives in the sixties, still run by the passions of those times -- sexual and political -- which have refused to die. Among them is Zoyd Wheeler who is preparing for his annual act of televised insanity (for which he receives a government stipend) when an unwelcome face appears from out of his past. An old nemesis, federal prosecutor Brock Vond, storms into Vineland at the head of a heavily armed strike force. Soon Zoyd and his daughter, Prairie, go into hiding while Vond begins a relationship with Zoyd's ex-wife and uses Prairie as a pawn against the mother she never knew she had. Part daytime drama, part political thriller, Vineland is a strange evocation of a twentieth-century America headed for a less than harmonic future.