The film begins with a morally upright and honest Gandhian Schoolmaster, Deenanath Chauhan (Alok Nath), teaching his son, Vijay Deenanath Chauhan about a poem, 'Agneepath', which describes 'The Path of Fire' which a man must cross in his life. This theme becomes an integral part of the story. Master Deenanath is a well-loved person, who wishes to bring education to the Village, Mandwa. However, his wish is not shared by a corrupt jamindar, Dinkar Rao (Goga Kapoor).One day, as Vijay and his friends play about near Rao's house, a man named Kancha Cheena (Danny Denzongpa) arrives at the house, and Rao hands over some papers to him, which, Rao tells him, are the Title Deeds of all the Villagers' homes. Kancha's plans are revealed then: he wishes to make Mandwa a centre for his drugs trade, as he wishes to rule a place where the laws are lax and is not on the map of India. Dinkar Rao mentions that the schoolmaster is a huge hindrance to their plans, whereupon Cheena tells Rao that he must kill the schoolmaster, or Rao will suffer the consequences. With the aid of the owner of a brothel, Chandabai, Dinkar Rao lures the schoolmaster into the brothel. The villagers assume that the schoolmaster is an immoral hypocrite who solicits prostitution, and they beat him to death. The schoolmaster dies while cradling his son and reciting the poem, "Agneepath".