It is Harvard in the early 1960s. Just off campus, Dr Timothy Leary plays host for his PhD students, laying on a spread of cocktails, pizza and LSD. Among the guests is Fitzhugh Loney, a psychology student, and his librarian wife Joanie. Married young, and both diligently and unglamorously toiling to support their son, they are not the sort of people one would expect to be seduced by the nascent drug culture. But their nights on LSD prove so extraordinary – so revelatory, so earth-shattering, so downright seductive – that Fitzhugh and Joanie are soon captive to the whims of the charismatic and subversive Dr Tim.
Follow Fitzhugh and Joanie on their quest for transcendence, as sultry Mexican nights at Hotel Catalina give way to a ramshackle mansion in upstate New York, where thirty devotees – students, wives and children – play out the final act of a terrible, beautiful experiment.