Dwight Evans, living as a beach vagrant, lives out of his car and scavenges for food and money. A policewoman tells him that Wade Cleland, the man who murdered Dwight’s parents twenty years ago, is to be released from prison. Dwight returns to his hometown in Virginia. En route he steals a gun but breaks it trying to open its trigger lock.
Dwight watches the Clelands collect Wade from prison in a limousine and follows them. They go to a local club to celebrate Wade’s release. Dwight follows Wade to the club’s restroom and, after a fight, fatally stabs him. Realizing he dropped his car keys in the club, Dwight steals the Clelands’ limousine. As he drives away he discovers a teenage boy, William Cleland, in the back and lets him go; William implies that Wade didn’t kill Dwight’s parents.
After cleaning himself up, Dwight visits his sister, Sam, for the first time in years and tells her that he has killed Wade. Sam is shocked but happy about it. As the killing has gone unreported on the news, Dwight surmises that the Clelands have decided to seek revenge without police involvement. Since Dwight’s car is registered to Sam’s address, she flees her home with her daughters and Dwight waits in the family house for the Clelands’ attack. Wade’s two brothers arrive in Dwight’s car. As Dwight escapes, he runs over Teddy Cleland and he places the unconscious body in the trunk. Before Dwight drives away, Teddy’s brother Carl shoots him in the thigh with a crossbow.
After attempting surgery on himself, Dwight has the wound treated at a hospital. He returns to Sam’s house to clean up the mess. He tracks down an old high school friend, Ben Gaffney, who lends him a rifle. On Ben’s land, Dwight interrogates Teddy at gunpoint, who reveals that Wade was not his parents’ killer. Dwight’s father and Wade Sr.’s wife were having an affair. As revenge, Wade’s now deceased father killed his father and his mother’s death was incidental, as she just happened to be in the car during the ambush. Wade Jr. took the blame as his father was dying from cancer and the family did not want him to die in prison. Teddy wrestles the gun from Dwight, but is shot dead by Ben from a concealed position. Ben and Dwight put Teddy’s body back into the trunk and part ways after Ben resupplies Dwight with food and more weapons. To keep Ben from further involvement, Dwight removes the battery from his truck.
Dwight goes to the Cleland house and finds it empty. He searches it for guns, and dumps them in a lake. He buries Teddy, and waits to ambush the Clelands. He leaves a message on the house answering machine telling them that Teddy is dead and asks them to leave Sam out of the dispute, saying that they are even. Carl, his older sister, Kris, and their cousin, Hope, return and listen to Dwight’s message. When it becomes clear that the Clelands intend to kill Sam, Dwight shoots and kills Carl. He then holds the women at gunpoint while explaining his dilemma about whether to kill all the family members. William enters through another door and shoots Dwight with a shotgun. Dwight, severely wounded, disarms William and tells him to leave with his car. As William leaves, Dwight tells the women that William is his half-brother. Hope attempts to attack Dwight as Kris reaches for a gun hidden under a recliner. Kris mortally wounds Dwight and accidentally kills Hope, but is shot dead by Dwight. Dwight dies on the floor, mumbling that the keys are in the car.