In 1964, Suzy was among nearly a half-dozen girls in a play being performed at St. Jack Woods Church. While in the dressing room before the play, the girls were spotted by bored Khaki Scout Sam Shakusky, who immediately fell in love with Suzy. Following the play, the two pre-teens were corresponding with each other in letters for at least a year. Sam ran away from Troop 55 to walk the historic Chickchaw Trail for ten days. After meeting in a prairie, the two hiked along the trail with the aid of the skills he learned in Khaki Scouts. At a bay which they later named "Moonrise Kingdom", they professed their love for each other, kissing. The morning after their second night of camping, the two were found by Suzy's parents Scout Master Ward, and Captain Sharp.
Infuriated at her parents, Suzy threatens to retaliate against her father for keeping her away from Sam. Later she reveals to her mother that she knows about her affair with Captain Sharp. Troop 55 then broke her out of her house to reunite her with Sam at Sharp's trailer so the two could escape. They canoed over to the nearby larger island where they were wed by Cousin Ben. While retrieving Suzy's binoculars before their final escape Redford alerted the Khaki Scouts to their presence and a chase ensued. Sam was struck by lightning but soldiered on to the church with the rest of Troop 55 and Suzy to escape the tropical storm.
Suzy and Sam escaped to the steeple of the church and were followed by Captain Sharp who offered to adopt Sam after Social Services revealed that Sam would have to enter a Juvenile Refuge or submit to shock therapy. Sam agreed and Suzy returned home, continuing her relationship with Sam.