In 1958 alien invaders abduct the residents of Centerville, Ill., usurping the townspeople's bodies as their earthbound manifestations. Decades later, on a family visit to Centerville, New Yorker Margaret Newman mysteriously goes missing. Margaret's ex-husband, professor Charles Bigelow, suspects there is more afoot than mere foul play, and he partners with intrepid tabloid reporter Betty Walker to investigate.