Hapless Nate Hester yearns for the safety and affection of a group. He sets off on a hitchhiking trip to escape bad parenting and the Vietnam draft.
Nate soon longs to be off the road. A drug dealer befriends him and introduces him to the Hells Angels. The Angels introduce him to the wonders of drug use and free sex, but the effects wane, and Nate leaps from mania to depression.
He accidentally shoots and kills a man. Guilt and fear of arrest overtake Nate's thinking. Relief comes only from intoxication. He discovers heroin and plummets, narrowly escaping death, but is rescued from his addiction only to continue dealing drugs.