Arthur Penn's freewheeling hippy film, based on Arlo Guthrie's famous 1968 song of the same name, takes an exuberant look at the 1960s counterculture, draft dodging, social intolerance, law enforcement, and the hardships of growing older. The film follows Arlo Guthrie (played by himself) as he gets kicked out of school and travels back east to visit his old friends Alice (Pat Quinn) and Ray (James Broderick) Brock in their converted church/commune. After a huge Thanksgiving feast, Arlo is assigned the duty of taking out the rubbish. When he finds the local dump closed, he tosses the bag of rubbish over a cliff - which leads to his arrest for littering. This minor offence comes back to haunt him when he is drafted into the US army during the Vietnam war.