In 1939, a woman dies while giving birth prematurely in a slaughterhouse in Texas, and the manager disposes of the baby by leaving him in a dumpster outside. When young Luda Mae Hewitt finds the child, she takes him back to the Hewitt residence, names him Thomas and raises him as her own son.
Thirty years later, Thomas (Andrew Bryniarski) works in the slaughterhouse under the same manager who left him in the dumpster. When the plant is shut down by the health department, he refuses to leave until the manager makes him. Thomas later returns to murder his manager by beating him viciously with a sledgehammer and finds a chainsaw, which he takes with him. When Sheriff Hoyt attempts to arrest him, Luda Mae's son, Charlie Hewitt (R. Lee Ermey) shoots him and assumes his identity.
Meanwhile, brothers Eric (Matt Bomer) and Dean (Taylor Handley), are driving across the country with their girlfriends, Chrissie (Jordana Brewster) and Bailey (Diora Baird), to enlist in the Vietnam War. At a diner, they run into a biker gang, one of whom follows them on her motorcycle. She draws a shotgun and orders the group to pull over. In the ensuing chaos, the car crashes, and Chrissie is thrown into a field out of sight. When Hoyt arrives, he kills the biker and makes them put her body in his car. Hoyt then forces the group in as well, and calls for Uncle Monty to tow the jeep, which Chrissie is hiding in.
Hoyt drives them to the Hewitt house where he has Thomas butcher the biker's body. He then holds Eric, Dean, and Bailey captive. When Monty brings the wrecked car to the house, Chrissie runs back to the highway and flags down Holden, the biker's boyfriend, and they return to the house together. At the house, Hoyt tortures Dean after finding out that he was going to forgo the Vietnam War draft. When Hoyt leaves, Eric breaks free from his restraints and gets Dean to safety before sneaking into the house to free Bailey. Bailey escapes in Monty's truck but Thomas stabs her with a meat hook and drags her back to the house. When Dean attempts to run, he is caught in a bear trap, and Hoyt knocks Eric unconscious with his shotgun.
Holden and Chrissie arrive at the house but part ways to search for their friends. While Chrissie finds Dean, Holden takes Hoyt hostage, and orders him to take him to his girlfriend. Meanwhile Thomas has strapped Eric to a wooden table and slices off the nerves in both of his arms.Hoyt calls out to Thomas for help, and he cuts Holden in half with the chainsaw. Chrissie finds Eric in the basement but is unable to free him, and hides when Thomas returns. Thomas inspects Eric's face before killing him with the chainsaw. He then skins his face and wears it as a mask. Chrissie is about to flee when she hears Bailey's screams, and decides to go back and save her. She finds her upstairs, but Hoyt catches her and brings her downstairs for dinner, along with Bailey and an unconscious Dean. Leatherface slits Bailey's throat and tries to take Chrissie to the basement, but she stabs him in the back with a screwdriver, and jumps out of a window.
Dean regains consciousness and beats Hoyt before heading off to find Chrissie. Chrissie enters the slaughterhouse, and after noticing that Leatherface has followed her, she grabs a knife and cuts his face, but he overpowers her. Dean intervenes but Leatherface kills him with the chainsaw. Chrissie escapes, hijacks an abandoned car, and drives off. She sees a state trooper and pulled over pedestrian in the distance, but as Chrissie pulls over, Leatherface appears in the backseat and impales her with the chainsaw, causing her to lose control and crash into the trooper and pedestrian. Leatherface exits the car and walks along the road back towards the Hewitt house.
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