21-year-old William Popper (Michael Sarrazin) is a rebellious, New York college dropout who'd rather live with his girlfriend Jane Kaufman (Barbara Hershey), than spend time with his widowed father, John (Arthur Hill). When William accidentally runs over an elderly woman during a rainstorm, John retains an old family friend, attorney Daniel Lawrence (E.G. Marshall), to represent his son. Uncooperative in court, William is sentenced to one year in prison. With one week left to serve, he becomes involved in a knife fight where an inmate is killed. Making his escape, William borrows $3000 from his grandmother, picks up Jane and flies to Canada to begin a new life.