I tried the demo on steam and really liked the core gameplay. It seems like it'll be focused on trying to survive and expand outward from your starting location (or, at least, that's how I intend to try it), but I was wondering if there's a plot to follow through to a conclusion. There were hints of one, but I wasn't sure if that's something I'm supposed to investigate or if those clues aren't really important.
Those clues are really important. :) Yes, there is a plot and also an ending (a couple of them actually). Aside from very few occasions however, the game will not hit you over the head with its plot. There are a couple of people who will offer some quests, but most of the time you are left on your own devices. It is possible to get to the end of the game and never having seen 1/10th of the plot/lore of the game. It's also possible to play sandbox and never touch the plot. There are locations and plot encounters you will probably not find unless you notice a really obscure clue or simply stumble onto them. And since most encounters have a few different branches, you can't ever see all the story/lore of the game in a single playthrough - you will have to play again using different skills, finding different items and making different choices to access all story bits of the game. There's a huge amount of text hidden underneath all the survival.
Btw: If you do end up getting the full game, your game plan isn't gonna work well... In the full game, the starting location is much more difficult to survive in - consider it the game's way of telling you that you should keep moving. ;) The demo makes it look much more like a base building survival game than it actually is., in reality this is more of a hobo simulator. XD