Jay Wheeler, the "black sheep" son of a rich family starts working as a janitor at a psychiatric hospital as part of his parole. While walking through the hospital one night he overhears another janitor, Frakel, telling a patient that he's a doctor and needs to give her physical examination, in order to rape her. After hearing this Jay knocks out Frakel and tells the patient, Daisy Kensington, to go back to bed. Daisy, having been admitted to the hospital for being raised in isolation her entire life and hearing voices, decides to follow Jay out of the hospital. Rather than send Daisy back into the hospital Jay decides to her home for his brother's wedding to convince his family that he has finally straightened out his life. While she impresses the family with her genuine, if unstable, charm, she also admits to Jay that she was in the hospital for killing her mother. While at the wedding Jay's father, suspecting that something is amiss, presses her for information, causing Daisy to have a panic attack. As Jay gets her into a cab, surrounded by his family, he tells them truth of who she is and that he is a janitor at the psychiatric hospital, only having come home to get money to pay back a loan shark. When Jay and Daisy return to his parents' house they search through his father's cars for keys and find a set in a classic RV, in which they set out for home. Despite getting along while driving Jay leaves Daisy at a bus station in Shreveport, Louisiana, intending to abandon her, but ends up having a change of heart and goes back for her.
Their journey becomes a fun adventure, despite the fact that they are both being hunted, Daisy for escaping the hospital and Jay for taking her and violating his probation. As Jay is the only one who can drive they pull over so he can sleep. During the night Daisy wakes him up due to a cop having pulled up behind. While Jay hides in the cupboard Daisy tells the cop that her boyfriend, "Beaver," ran away when he saw the flashing lights. The cop tells her that his father's name was Beaver, before proceeding to check the RV. After checking the bathroom, which smells bad because they can't flush it, he leaves and walks into the bush on the side of the road to find her boyfriend. While the cop is distracted Daisy throws away the keys to his car, so that her and Jay can escape, causing Jay to see her in a different light. A few nights later they go to a carnival, which Daisy has never been to before, claiming that it is "the best day of her life."
Later when they make a stopover, Jay makes a phone call to Dr Bertleman, the doctor who was handling Daisy. She then overhears his conversation that he is going to take her back to Los Angeles only to bring her back to the psychiatric hospital. She runs away crying and goes to the RV alone and attempting to drive it away before Jay can get to her. As she only know the basics that Jay taught her she ends up driving around the parking lot in circles before crashing the RV. As Jay opens the door, she climbs out crying, as other people comes to check on them. Jay then hurries them both into a diner. Jay, curious about Daisy, not truly believing she's schizophrenic as her doctor believes, asks her about whether the voices told her to kill her mother. Daisy tells him that it wasn't her who heard voices, but her mother who did. Her mother was screaming one night but Daisy didn't go to her and when she woke up in the morning her mother was dead, causing Daisy to believe that she killed her mother. As Jay vehemently tells Daisy that she didn't kill her mother, she died, a group of cop cars show up at the diner to arrest Jay and Daisy, assuming that one of the bystanders to the crash called them. As Jay kisses Daisy, the cops come into the diner and handcuff Jay, separating him a Daisy.
When Jay's mother finds out he's in jail she persuades his father to bail him out, which he does. When Jay returns to his apartment, he finds the door busted open and his belongings torn apart. Glancing out the window he sees one of the loan sharks goons waiting for him outside, just as the loan shark looks up and sees Jay. After fleeing his apartment complex Jay goes to psychiatric hospital to see Daisy, but the security and Dr Bertleman tell him to leave.
Desperate, Jay goes to the train station and lies down on the tracks, so that he'll be deemed suicidal and thus get taken to the psychiatric hospital. Dr Bertleman, knowing that Jay is fine and that it was just a ruse, dismisses Jay, but after Jay insists that he is suicidal, the doctor puts him in solitary confinement. Before Jay is taken away he tells the doctor that it wasn't Daisy who heard voices but her mother. While at the hospital another patient gives Jay information on Daisy's well-being and confirms that they're being kept apart.
That night Frakel, who Jay had an altercation with the night he met Daisy, sneaks the loan shark's goon into the hospital, where he then goes and strangles Jay using a chain. As Jay is struggling to get him off, the patient who was giving him information, takes out the goon by hitting him in the head with a broom. After this Jay wakes up in hospital where Dr Bertleman apologizes to Jay about Frakel and tells him he was right about Daisy's mother, who was a diagnosed schizophrenic. Dr Bertleman then decides to release both Jay and Daisy from the hospital. Before Jay goes to meet Daisy he gets a letter from his father which has a check for $40,000 in order to pay off his debts. Jay then meets Daisy at the entrance to the hospital, where the two share a hug and kiss before leaving together, hand in hand.
As the credits start to roll the last scene shows Daisy and Jay riding a merry-go-round.Evan Rachel Wood as Daisy Kensington
Scott Speedman as Jay Wheeler
Treat Williams as Mr. Wheeler
Kate Burton as Mrs. Wheeler
J. K. Simmons as Dr. Bertleman
Barefoot received mostly negative reviews. On film aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, it currently holds an 14% rating, with an average score of 4.1/10, based on 21 reviews.
Barbara VanDenburgh of the Arizona Republic rated the film 1.5 out of 5 stars and called the film an "offensively infantilizing [...] spectacularly wrong-headed, chemistry-free romance, and too dumb to know how sexist it is" and calling Evan Rachel Wood's character "a cartoon character" similar to the Little Mermaid who "all but brushes her hair with a fork".