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Because a serious automobile accident has left him with a back injury, Tom Phillips is advised by his doctor to move to a warm climate. After buying a combination motel-restaurant in the California desert, he sets out for his new home with his wife, Peg, his daughter, Tina, and his small son, Jamie. Since Tom has not yet regained his confidence behind a wheel, Peg drives the family car. As they near their destination, they are passed by three thrill-seeking teenagers--Duke, Ernie and Gloria--who toss a beer can into the Phillips' sedan. Sometime later, Tom encounters one of the boys at a filling station and threatens him with police action. As a result, the young toughs alert their friends and a number of youths soon converge on the Phillips for the remainder of their trip. Once they have reached their destination, they learn that the former owner of the motel allowed the place to be used for teenage drinking orgies. After Duke has tried to seduce Tina, Tom calls off the motel deal and heads for his brother's home, 52 miles away. They are pursued by Duke and Ernie, who are determined to prevent Tom from contacting the police. But the constant hounding eventually proves too much for Tom, and he decides to hold his ground. He parks his car, leaves the headlights on, and causes Duke's souped-up sports car to crash. Suppressing the urge to kill the two hoodlums, Tom offers them the choice of being turned over to the authorities or changing their ways. When a police car pulls up, Duke and Ernie promise to behave like sensible adults in the future. And Tom--his self-confidence restored--goes back to the motel to give his business venture another try.