MacGyver travels into the wilds to bring a geographical report to his old friend Bill Farren, his wife Laura, and their assistant Paul Torgut. As MacGyver, arrives, Pete and Bill hit a gas pocket releasing water: a sure sign that there's oil below. As Bill and Pete go over the geographical reports, MacGyver helps replace a worn-out fuse using a gum wrapper. MacGyver asks Laura what happened to Bill after he was injured during his time as a hellfighter. Laura says that Bill spent three months in a burn ward and then gave it up after she asked him to choose between her and his career. However, Laura warns that if they don't make money on the rig, they'll lose everything and Bill will have to go back to firefighting.
The guys confirm that there's oil on the geographical reports. However, as they go outside to celebrate, a strong wind shatters a light bulb on the rig and the spark sets off the oil. Metal pipes land on Pete's legs, breaking one. MacGyver and Bill get him to safety just in time as the rig explodes.
After they splint Pete's leg, MacGyver advises them to wait until the firefighting crew gets out. Bill warns that their lease runs out in two weeks and they don't have the equipment to stop the oil fire themselves. However, there is an abandoned strip mine 52 miles away. Laura notices her husband's interest and reminds him of his promise not to fight fires. MacGyver insists that he'll only have Bill provide backup.
The next day, MacGyver and Bill drive to the mien and find a shack with old dynamite in it. The floorboards are rotten but they make their way to the shelves, only to discover that the dynamite is sweating highly unstable nitroglycerin. MacGyver takes a bit outside and flicks it into an oil drum, confirming that it's highly unstable. Bill insists they get going and admits that he wants to feel the adrenalin rush one last time. They start to move the cases of dynamite out of the shack. When one of the shelves gives, Bill is forced to try and support it while holding his own case and balancing on a rotten floorboard. MacGyver comes back for him and takes the case, telling Bill to get out so Laura won't lose a husband. Bill gets out and MacGyver takes his place. Once Bill is clear, MacGyver runs outside and narrowly avoids dying in the resulting blast.
As Laura and Pete rig a fire hose to protect MacGyver from the flames, MacGyver rigs up Bill's truck with a wooden platform supported by old wagon springs. They pack the dynamite cases in sand and drive back to the rig. They get stuck in a stream and MacGyver manages to make repairs using a ballpoint pen's spring. They keep going, unaware that one of the crates has cracked open and the nitro is leaking onto the ground. As they drive down out of the hills toward the rig, an explosion destroys the brake cables. MacGyver manages to drive the truck into a nearby stream and avoid setting off the dynamite.
MacGyver asks how Bill used to fight fires, and Bill explains that they used a tank-like remote-controlled vehicle. MacGyver improvised, taking an old refrigerator and putting it on an abandoned jeep to serve as a heat shield. He then puts the jeep on a parallel set of pipes so they can push it toward the fire. Laura carefully extracts the nitro from the dynamite sticks and puts it in a thermos.
As they work, Bill goes off to the side on his own. When MacGyver asks what's going on, Bill insists that MacGyver will need his help. He finally snaps and tells MacGyver that he lost three men in the accident that put him in the hospital, and he won't let MacGyver suffer the same fate. MacGyver tries to walk by him and Bill attacks. The two men struggle until Laura finally breaks them up. She admits that Bill will have to help, but this is the last time.
Using the refrigerator as a heat shield, Bill and MacGyver push the jeep toward the well cap, while Laura and Pete hose them down with water. They try to send the thermos over on a line, but it jams. MacGyver moves in front of the shield to free the line and they drop the thermos into the well cap. The charge goes off, blowing out the fire. The Farrens make plans for a new derrick and MacGyver offers his help.