Jimmy is a 12 year old boy who got hit in the head with a baseball bat. After awhile, Jimmy started losing his eyesight and a doctor determined he had a detached retina and need surgery right away.
But Jimmy is afraid of hospitals. So he's decided to run away to his real father's cabin in Lake Dawson. After getting his best friend to lie for him, Jimmy takes off for the 75 mile trip to the cabin as his mother goes to Chief Dan Mathews of the Highway Patrol with the note Jimmy left her. A doctor goes with her and tells the chief that Jimmy needs surgery immediately or may lose his eyesight permanently.
Dan whips the troops into shape and puts out an alert on TV, radio and the newspaper. He visits Eddie, the friend, and finds out where Jimmy is headed. Only Jimmy, on his bike, weaves into traffic and is hit by a truck. The driver, upset of the near tragedy, offers to take Jimmy to a nearby town to get the bike fixed. Only when he pulls over the lookup a bike shop in a phone book, he calls the Highway Patrol instead.
Jimmy overhears the call and runs away from the driver. The boy decides that he must out-smart the cops so he takes a bus to find his real father, a man that normally, he would never go see. When he arrives, his dad is surprised that his mom hadn't called him and that he doesn't have any luggage. But Jimmy has an answer for everything for his father, who has to get back to work.
Mathews tells Jimmy's mom that there was a sighting toward Rigley and she gives the chief James Adams' phone number. Adams has to go back to work and after he leaves, the phone rings. Jimmy picks it up and Mathews pretends he's someone who wants to talk to James. Dan tells the mom to get on the phone but to not talk. As the conversation goes on, the impatient mother yells for Jimmy, who quickly hangs up. Mathews tells the mom to go home and wait there so she can't mess anything else up. He then has an officer quickly dispatch a unit to that address.
Jimmy runs out the door knowing the police will be there soon. The boy starts hitch-hiking and comes across a bum thumbing on the side of the road. Mathews heads toward Rigley, knowing the boy is in great danger on the road. The bum tells the kid to leave him alone since the police are after him but advises him to stay off the main roads.
A woman who heard the radio broadcasts about the boy called the Highway Patrol saying she had seen the boy. Mathews heads in the direction toward where the bum and the boy were last seen and find Gorman, the transient. He denies at first any involvement but when told of the danger to the boy, he agrees to show Mathews where he told the boy to go.
His eyesight going, Jimmy is stumbling down the road as Mathews trails him. Just before Jimmy trips and falls over a ridge, Mathews grabs the near blind boy. He cries out to be put down and Dan sets him down safely. Jimmy says he doesn't want the operation but Dan promises that the bat hurt more than the surgery will. And that he'll get to ride all the way home in a real Highway Patrol cruiser. Jimmy agrees.
Jimmy gets into the backseat of the patrol car with Chief Dan Mathews as they head back to see the boy's mom.