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Jack Ryan, a young Vietnam War veteran with a criminal record, works as a migrant laborer on a California produce farm. He gets into a fight with a Mexican laborer and is told by camp manager Bob Rogers to get out of town. Ryan hitches a ride with Ray Ritchie, the owner of the farm, and Nancy Barker, his secretary and mistress. Later, Ryan meets Sam Mirakian, a justice of the peace who offers him a job at his motel. The two men run into Nancy and Rogers at a bar, and Nancy tries to goad Rogers into fighting Ryan, but Mirakian stops them. After Mirakian leaves, Ryan picks up Joanne, an unhappy divorcée, and he soon becomes involved with her. Most of his time, however, is taken up by Nancy, who taunts him into shattering windows with rocks, breaking into beach houses, and making love in a cemetery. Then Ritchie forces Nancy to give herself to an influential senator, and she plots to have her revenge by robbing Ritchie's safe of $50,000 in payroll money. Nancy forces an occupied dune buggy over a cliff and warns Ryan that unless he joins her in the theft, she will tell the police that he was the guilty party. After learning that Joanne has committed suicide, Ryan sets out for the safe-cracking job, unaware that Nancy plans to kill him. Instead, Nancy shoots the Mexican laborer who has come to the house looking for Ryan. When Ryan arrives, he realizes that he was the intended victim and walks out on Nancy. Nancy stuffs the dead man's pockets with money, pleads attempted robbery, and is acquitted on grounds of justifiable homicide. As Ryan leaves town, Nancy follows and tries to pick him up. He refuses and she drives away, mocking him with an obscene gesture.