The wife of prospective politician David Stratton (John Forsythe) is away in San Francisco, visiting relatives there. David comes home one night but not to an empty house—a young woman, Jody (Ann-Margret), is asleep in his daughter's bed.
Jody has just escaped from a juvenile detention home, where she stabbed a matron and started a fire. Though David is furious and wishes to call the police, Jody tells him a tale of woe and he is sympathetic. He buys her a dress, gives her some money and puts her on a bus. Soon after, David learns that Jody is a wanted fugitive who had been lying to him. He returns home to find Jody there. She refuses to leave and threatens to create a scandal if he forces her out. Worried about his political fortunes, David is forced to let her stay.
Jody invites three friends to the house, including two ruffians, Ron and Buck, who bully David into letting them throw a wild party in the house. The youths begin to fight until Ron suffers a deep cut in the arm with a razor. They drive across the Mexico border, taking David along. They deposit Ron with a local doctor and ditch Buck when the car is entangled in barbed wire.
Jody and David end up in a Tijuana motel. When Ron and Buck return, a chase occurs and their car crashes, killing them both. David, seriously injured, awakens in the hospital to find that just before she died, Jody had told the authorities that she had been in the car with Ron and Buck, meaning that David is in the clear.
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