The country has fallen into chaos as an undefined war rages on US soil. Roads are closed except for military use. There is no work. Progressively, the schools close. Food runs out. The power gets shut off. Neighbors mysteriously vanish.
Those without homes beg for food at the porches of those who do, but no one has anything to give. A family of five—two parents, two sons, and a young daughter, Lisa—do what they can to survive. They eat wild grass from the yard. The father goes hunting every day, but all the animals have fled. "They know something we don't," he says. One day, Prince arrives.
Prince, a man in a dog suit, befriends Lisa and provides her with an escape from the isolated boredom of her life. Lisa's mother supports this friendship. Prince is her pet, though Lisa's father, Howard, opposes it.
Howard confronts Prince. "Stand up," he says. "You're a human being, for God's sake. Stand up like a man … I'll give you my own clothes if you'll … stand up like a man and talk to me. I know you can talk." Prince barks; Howard chases him away. Conditions continue to worsen.
It's winter now. Dark early, and cold. The family hasn't eaten in weeks, maybe months. "I wish I had a steak," says one brother. The other brother adds "I heard in China people eat dogs." There is silence in the room.
Howard rises, takes his rifle. "Where are you going? Howard--don't--don't--" says mother. "He's a man, Howard! A man! You can't-" she screams. "He's a dog," Howard replies. "He's an animal." Lisa tries to stop them, but she is too late. She arrives just in time to see her father and brothers descend upon Prince, snarling.