The film is set in two halves, the first in Durham prison and the second half while McVicar is on the run in London. The first half of the film focuses on relations between the prison officers and inmates and also McVicar’s plotting and eventual prison escape.

Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the British rock group the Who, and 1960s pop star and actor Adam Faith play the two lead roles of John McVicar and Walter Probyn respectively. The supporting cast includes Billy Murray, Brian Hall, Steven Berkoff, Georgina Hale, and Cheryl Campbell as Sheila McVicar.

The latter half of the film is set in London after McVicar has escaped from Durham. Here he re-establishes relationships with his wife and young son and he eventually decides to try to escape from his life of crime by trying to fund a new life in Canada.

Eventually, however, McVicar is forced to fund his family’s relocation plan by returning to crime. Soon the Metropolitan Police are hard on his heels and he is eventually recaptured when one of his colleagues in the crime world informs the police officer in charge of McVicar’s recapture of his whereabouts.

McVicar is returned to prison and his sentence is increased, but during this time he studies for a BSc in sociology and he is eventually released.