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When a drug deal is called off because of police surveillance, Long John, a member of the Angels motorcycle gang, gathers fellow gang members Juicer and Monk and arranges to meet their buyer, Lucifer, three days later at their friend Cloud's desert shack. While stopping at a gas station, they meet Magic and Brain, members of the Dragons motorcycle gang, who invite them to Lost Cause, a ghost town inhabited by a hippie commune, where the rest of the gang is having a party. When the Angels arrive in Lost Cause, General, the Dragons' psychopathic leader, challenges Long John to a race. After Long John wins, General menacingly remarks they will do it again later and "do it right." Afterward, Long John notices Astrid, a winsome hippie, sketching the scene on the street and approaches her. The two warily converse as Astrid questions Long John's "tough guy" façade, and he comments about her "hippie beads." Astrid then introduces Long John to Vicki and Henry, their nominal leader, who confides that they dislike the Dragons. Soon after, the Angels ride to Cloud's place to inform him of the impending drug deal. That night, back in Lost Cause, as the Dragons become increasingly drunk and rowdy, General challenges Long John to another race. While Long John and General compete, several Dragons try to gang rape Astrid. Hearing her screams, Long John, Juicer and Monk come to her defense and in the ensuing fight, Astrid is stabbed to death. General blames her death on the Angels, claiming that they were really trying to kill him instead. General insists on holding a mock trial, and when Henry pleads for reason, he and the other hippies are ejected from the courtroom. After the Dragons unanimously return a guilty verdict, Long John charges that one of the Dragons was trying to eliminate General because of his abusive behavior. Enraged, General sentences them to "a round of games" and locks them in the town's jail for the night. On the dirt floor of the jail, Long John sketches out an escape plan in which they would steal the Dragons' cycles and cut through the desert to Cloud's place. The next day, General outlines the rules of "chopper polo" in which the Angels, their hands tied behind them, serve as pucks while the Dragons, mounted on their bikes, are armed with chains to drive the "pucks" across the goal line. As the Dragons attack, Long John pulls one of the cyclists off his bike, grabs his knife and uses it to cut Monk's ropes. Monk then jumps on the overturned cycle and roars off through the desert. Observing that the bike's gas tank is half-empty, General does not bother to pursue him, believing that he will die of thirst in the desert. Later, in town, as General rigs a decrepit old sluice to torture Long John and Juicer, Henry asks him to return the hippies' van so that they can leave. General cryptically replies that "they will all be leaving in the morning." After Monk's cycle runs out of gas, he is forced to continue on foot. Spotting a dune buggy in the distance, Monk flags down its occupants, Gordon and his leather-clad girl friend, Carol. When Monk, who is black, asks the racist Gordon for some gas, Gordon humiliates him by suggesting he "service" Carol in exchange. After Monk returns the insult, Gordon chases him with the dune buggy, causing Monk to trip and tumble down a sand dune. Later, Monk, parched and exhausted, comes upon a man in a camper and commandeers the vehicle. That night, Henry, who has decided to help Long John and Juicer escape, arranges with Vicki to put hallucinogens in the food of the men guarding the jail. After the guards, Crab and Louie, consume the food, they begin to hallucinate and Long John tricks them into opening the cell door. Later, as the Dragons engage in debauchery, Henry sneaks into the jail house and offers to hide Long John and Juicer in the abandoned church belfry. Meanwhile, Monk arrives at Cloud's, where several other Angels have gathered, and leads the gang back to Lost Cause. The next morning, General, who has passed out on the street with the others, awakens and discovers that Long John and Juicer have escaped. Furious, he wakes everyone up and ties Vicki to a post, threatening to immolate her with a torch unless she reveals where the prisoners are hiding. Witnessing Vicki's peril from the belfry, Long John and Juicer surrender. Just then, Axe, one of the Dragons, announces that he is taking over. As General tells Axe that he will deal with him later, Henry lunges at General with a knife, but General kicks him in the stomach and confiscates the weapon. Recognizing the knife as belonging to Axe, one of the Dragons returns it to him. When Henry admits that he extracted the knife from Astrid's body, General realizes that Axe was trying to kill him and stabs him with the spike protruding from the top of his German World War I helmet. At that moment, the Angels roar into town, and although the Dragons want to flee, General, obsessed with punishing Long John, slings him over his shoulder, after which a fight ensues. Jumping onto one of the Dragones' bikes, Juicer rams it into General, whose body then slams into the rickety sluice, causing it to collapse on General. As Monk tends to the injured Long John, they survey the town's main street, littered with the bodies of the Dragons. While the hippies climb into their van and drive off, Long John leads the Angels out of town. At a fork in the road, the Angels and hippies go their separate ways.