Ranch hand Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas) feels out of place in the modern world. Jack deliberately gets into a bar room fight to be imprisoned alongside friend Paul (Michael Kane), arrested for helping illegal aliens. Jack tries to convince Paul to flee with him, but, as a family man, Paul has too much at stake. Jack escapes after a beating from a sadistic police deputy (George Kennedy) and heads for the hills. An extensive manhunt breaks out, led by sympathetic Sheriff Johnson (Walter Matthau).