Swimming Upstream is set in the mid-1950s through 1971 during a period of cosmic shift in the fabric of American society. A young American woman from a privileged background drops out of college and marries the son of a rich German industrialist. They start married life in Colombia, S.A., then move to Boston where he begins Harvard’s MBA program and she gives birth to their daughter. The promising marriage unravels. She finds herself with two small children and no employable skills While it takes her sixteen years to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree, an Otto Preminger film production appears right outside her Salem, Massachusetts door, and becomes the catalyst that propels her onward and, eventually, to Hollywood.