In 1954 Macon County, Georgia, brothers Chris (Alan Vint) and Wayne Dixon (Jesse Vint) from Chicago are on a two-week spree of cheap thrills throughout the South before their upcoming stint in the Air Force. Wayne entered the service when Chris was given the option of military duty in lieu of prison as the result of an earlier episode with the law. Driving through Louisiana, the brothers pick up hitchhiker Jenny Scott (Cheryl Waters), a pretty blond with a shady backstory that she would rather not discuss.
Meanwhile, local backwater town sheriff Reed Morgan (Baer) is preparing to bring his son Luke (Leif Garrett) home from military school. Hunting season begins the next day and he buys Luke a new shotgun. When Chris, Jenny and Wayne experience car trouble, they must wait in Sheriff Morgan’s town. Unable to repair the car themselves, they scrape together enough money to get it patched up by garage owner Hamp (Geoffrey Lewis).
Waiting at the garage, they are informally threatened by Morgan, who says they could be picked up for vagrancy if they decide to stick around. Not interested in trouble, the brothers and Jenny head out once their car is running, but after another breakdown, they take refuge in Morgan’s barn. Inside the house, Morgan’s wife is brutally raped and murdered by two men who then kill a cop when pulled over. When Morgan returns home to find his wife dead, he pursues Chris, Wayne and Jenny, believing they must have been responsible. There is a running firefight during the chase.
With Wayne and Jenny holed up in a boat hiding from Morgan, Chris sneaks out to try to start the boat’s motor. A gunshot is heard, and Wayne and Jenny fear that Chris has been killed. Young Luke Morgan then enters the boat’s cabin and shoots Wayne and Jenny. It is revealed that Morgan was killed during the firefight. Afterwards, a wounded Chris comes back to the boat to find his friends killed, and Luke being held by another policeman. The last scene is Chris in his car, finally repaired by Hamp, with the locals and police then watching him leave. The epilogue shows that Chris became a master sergeant in the Air Force, with a wife and three children. Luke spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital.