After escaping prison while awaiting execution for the murder of three nursing students, Earl Raymond Diggs runs out of a small-town grocery store and shoots the security guard when the man goes for his gun. Diggs runs down the street to his stolen car and drives off for the Mexican border. A state trooper, T. Alexander, pulls up on a motorcycle behind Diggs, who spots the man and speeds up. Despite that, the trooper pulls up to Diggs and opens fire, and Diggs knocks him off the road.
Alexander recovers and heads after Diggs, who turns around and drives at him, shooting. Alexander returns fire and the two men head at each other. The trooper finally goes off of his motorcycle, but it slams into Diggs's car and he gets out just in time as it hits, exploding.
In the distance, a vulture sees the explosion and flies over to investigate.
After recovering from the explosion, Diggs picks up his stolen money and figures that he can walk the 25 miles to the Mexican border. He finds the patrolman lying where he fell and figures that he's dead, As Diggs gets a map from his car and works out that Mexico is just over the next hill, Alexander wakes up. Meanwhile, the vulture lands on the roof of the ruined car and Diggs sarcastically invites it to feed on Alexander before walking off.
Alexander gets to the road and aims his gun at the vulture when it shrieks. He tells the vulture that he saw Diggs first and follows the killer's tracks. The vulture flies ahead, circling above Diggs, and he yells at it that it's not eating him. Alexander opens fire and Diggs runs off, dropping half his money. The patrol officer finds the money and yells at Diggs, vowing to take him down. He tosses the money to the wind as Diggs watches and vows revenge
Diggs continues on with the vulture following him. and comes to a sign saying that a cantina is two miles ahead. He works out where it was pointing and sees something shiny in the distance, and heads toward it.
Alexander tries to work out where Diggs went, and the vulture leads him to the sign. He sees where the arrow is pointing, checks his gun, and heads out.
Diggs arrives at the cantina and discovers that it's long abandoned. He goes inside and confirms that the water isn't working and the cooler is empty. Alexander comes in and punches him, and Diggs grabs for his gun. The two men struggle and the gun falls on the floor. Alexander manages to handcuff Diggs' right wrist and attaches the other cuff to his left wrist. Diggs grabs the gun and shoots Alexander dead. With his dying breath, Alexander swallows the handcuff key and then collapses. He falls out the window and drags Diggs with him.
As the vulture looks on, Diggs realizes that he's trapped. He tries to shoot the vulture but discovers that the gun is out of bullets. A sign says that Mexico is six miles away, Diggs has no choice but to pick the corpse up and carry it with him toward the border. The hot desert sun soon wears him out as Diggs staggers forward, complaining about how he got a raw deal at his trial. He finally collapses and slaps the corpse's face.
Once the sun goes down and the wind picks up, Diggs drags the corpse behind him. He passes out and wakes up the next morning to find the corpse on top of him. He sees the hills ahead and realizes that he's almost there. Diggs carries the corpse up the hill and finds the vulture up ahead. He tells it that he beat it and keeps going. Diggs finally reaches the top and stares at Mexico in awe... and the corpse falls backward, dragging Diggs with him.
The vulture lands nearby and Diggs invites it to eat the corpse. It ignores it, and Diggs screams that it isn't getting him. Alexander's badge shines in his face, and Diggs gets an idea. He pulls it off and rigs it to a branch, and prepares to cut off the corpse's hand with the sharp edge. Weakened by the heat, Diggs hits his own wrist and cuts it. He falls and slips over the edge, with only the corpse's arm holding him up. Diggs' hand tears off and the convict falls to the ground far below.
Diggs tries to get up but realizes that his neck is broken and he's paralyzed. The vulture lands on his chest and plucks out his eyes, and Diggs dies alone.