After accidentally setting fire to his foster parents' house, Robbie, a six-year-old boy, runs away. He searches for a hiding place and runs into a riverside warehouse. Clattering down the steps, he runs into the arms of a man, Chris Lloyd (Dirk Bogarde). Robbie sees a body lying nearby. Thinking that the boy will give him away to the police, Lloyd takes the boy with him on a dash to the Scottish border. The more time they spend together, the closer they become, so when Robbir falls seriously ill, Lloyd has to make a difficult decision.