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Sam Farragut (Griffith) is a sociopathic business executive in Southern California who forces a team of advertising agency employees (Shatner, Reed, Gortner) to embark on a dangerous dirtbike trip to the Baja California desert in order to compete for his business.
The men are Warren Summerfield (Shatner), a suicidal middle-aged ad executive who has been fired from the agency; the straightlaced Paul McIlvain (Reed) who is inattentive to his wife (Dickinson), and brash art designer Maxon (Gortner) who feels suddenly trapped after his girlfriend (Janet Margolin) announces she is pregnant. There are numerous long sequences of motorcycle riding on desert backroads.
Summerfield has been having an affair with McIlvian's wife. He has not told his wife (Gary) that he was fired and is simply serving out his tenure at the agency while looking for a new position. His wife is actually aware of the affair.
Farragut convinces the ad men to make the motorcycle journey on the pretext of looking for a location to shoot a commercial. In reality, Farragut is reckless and looking to involve the men in spontaneous edgy adventure of his own manipulation. After they leave, McIlvain's wife suspects that Summerfield is planning to kill himself for the insurance money, but she cannot convince Summerfield's wife to instigate a search.
The four men travel deeper into Mexico on isolated dirt roads. At one point Summerfield contemplates plunging off a cliff. After being humiliated by a young American couple in a Baja bar, Farragut tracks them down on the beach while accompanied by Maxon. He tries to offer the young man one hundred dollars in order to sleep with his girlfriend, claiming he is a "hippie with money." Although rebuffed, he persists and is soon fought by the young man.
Although the young man appears to be winning the fight, Farragut seizes an axe and destroys the radiator of the couple's car. After returning to the others, Farragut and Maxon don't inform them of the incident. They are later confronted by the Mexican police who tell them that the young man died trying to hike to safety and that the girl may die as well.
Overnight in the town, Summerfield discovers the truth and tries to convince McIlvain to help him turn Farragut in to the police. McIlvain resists out of prudency. The next morning, Farragut and Maxon leave on their own for the airport to fly home. They are pursued by Summerfield, who catches up with them. Maxon returns to the town, and Farragut pursues Summerfield across the desert in a motorcycle chase. As Farragut chases Summerfield along a high cliff, Summerfield ditches his bike while Farragut loses control and plunges over the cliff to his fiery death.
The three ad men return to the U.S. with Farragut's remains. McIlvain's wife informs him she wants a divorce. Maxon's girlfiend tells him she is no longer pregnant, implying she has had an abortion. Summerfield, with a new lease on life, is greeted warmly by his wife.