After mugging a helpless old man, two young thugs take over a Manhattan-bound subway car, trapping the 15 occupants, and one by one, proceed to bait, taunt and terrorize them. Martin Sheen, one of Hollywood's screen icons, played one of the knife-wielding hoodlums, alongside Tony Musante. Among the melting pot of passengers are a bitterly anti-white black man and his peace-loving wife; a quarrelsome middle-aged Jewish couple; a young family with a sleeping child; two soldiers; an introverted homosexual and many more across the social and ethnic spectrum. Throughout the tense ride, not one of the passengers rises to help his beleaguered fellow riders; each individual wants only to be left alone. As the hooligans turn their menace towards the child, will the passengers finally stand up to the thugs?