A stranger comes to town; Castle Rock honors Sheriff Pangborn.
In 2016, Henry Deaver is having an MRI because of incessant ringing in his ears.The doctors tested his memory, and his brain is examined, but they can find nothing wrong with him. Henry has previously suffered from the ringing in his ears as a teenager. Two years later, now back in Castle Rock, Maine, the ringing returns to Henry's ears.
As wildfires rage in the surrounding counties, Henry installs a security system in Ruth Deaver's home so he can monitor her. It becomes clear that whatever is affecting Ruth is not exactly memory loss. Rather, the memories are there but she cannot put them in order. She explains it like reading a book with the pages being rearranged.
Following the shooting perpetrated by Dennis Zalewski, The Kid is released from Shawshank State Prison. Since the Kid cannot be sent straight to Juniper Hill Asylum, Henry – feeling responsible for his wellbeing – arranges for him to stay in a room above Molly Strand's office.
On his first night out, the Kid enters a house of a family celebrating a birthday. As he watches them, the love shown by the family turns to anger and violence. In a flashback to his time in the cell, Warden Dale Lacy confesses to the Kid that he still doesn't know what the Kid really is, or even if he has done the right thing.
Molly Strand's abilities allow her further insight into the Kid. He feels wrong to her, and she feels like she is listening to the pain of everyone in the town at once. Jackie Torrance arrives the next morning and takes the Kid out in her car. She reveals that she wants the crazy days of Castle Rock that she's heard about, and proceeds to get high in her car with the mysterious man.
At the same time, Castle Rock is honoring Alan Pangborn by naming a bridge after him. During the dedication ceremony, a barking dog scares Ruth into jumping off the bridge. Henry jumps in after his mother, and she survives.
Henry gives Alan access to the security cameras he installed at Ruth's home after learning that he really does love and care for her. On the app, Alan sees an image of the Kid in Ruth's home. Alan tracks the Kid down in the woods. In a flashback to twenty-seven years previously, Pangborn stops Warden Lacy for speeding. He finds the Kid in Lacy's trunk and we learn that the Kid has not aged a day. Alan asks him if he is devil but the Kid says no. Then he says he can help her, meaning Ruth.
- André Holland as Henry Deaver
- Melanie Lynskey as Molly Strand
- Bill Skarsgård as "The Kid"
- Jane Levy as Jackie Torrance
- Sissy Spacek as Ruth Deaver
- Scott Glenn as Alan Pangborn
- Noel Fisher as Dennis Zalewski
- Ann Cusack as Warden T. Porter
- Richard Schiff as Warden Porter's Superior (voice only)
- Zabryna Guevara as Maret
- James Le Gros as Sheriff of Castle Rock
- Aaron Staton as Pastor
- Jeffrey Pierce as Young Alan Pangborn
- Peta Sergeant as Angela
- Amanda Brooks as Psychologist
- Rory Culkin
- Charles Avarino
- Terry O'Quinn as Dale Lacy
References to other Stephen King works
- Jackie Torrance's connection to "The Shining" is finally revealed – she's Jack Torrance's niece. She mentions that her uncle was a writer who tried to murder his family with an axe. Her real name is Diane, but she changed it to honor her uncle's memory.
- The Kid may be transferred to Juniper Hill Asylum which has appeared in numerous King works including "IT", "Needful Things", and "The Dark Half".