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In the vast forest region of Oregon, Deputy Sheriff Steve Walsh arrests three teenagers--Bobbie Adams, Frank Henderson, and Roy Anderson--for the holdup of a filling station. En route to jail Bobbie produces a gun from beneath her shirt, and Walsh becomes the trio's prisoner. They abandon the sheriff's car and, by using Walsh as both hostage and guide, set out by foot through the mountainous forestland. When they stop for the night, Bobbie, aware of Walsh's growing interest in her, tries unsuccessfully to seduce him. The next day the drunken Roy tries to push Walsh off the edge of a ravine, but in the struggle Roy himself plunges to his death. Meanwhile, a search party has been organized; and when Walsh, Bobbie, and Frank reach a clearing the police are waiting. Once apprehended, the desperate and vengeful Frank falsely accuses Walsh of being intimate with Bobbie, who is still a minor. Before the argument can be settled, a forest fire breaks out, the result of a lit cigarette carelessly tossed aside by Frank. When the blaze gets out of control and sweeps through the town, Walsh herds the trapped citizens into two railway cars and, aided by Bobbie, drives the locomotive over a 200-foot-high trestle. Midway across, the train stalls, but the townspeople make their way across the ties to safety. In the panic and confusion, Frank escapes from his captors and begins climbing down the trestle. But as Walsh, Bobbie, and the last of the townspeople reach safety, the burning trestle collapses, and Frank is killed as the train crashes into the riverbed below.