Captain Jack Parsons (Rip Torn), a gruff Texas Ranger, is accused of killing a recently released convict and a sheriff's deputy in an ensuing shoot-out. Now he is the object of a deadly manhunt. One person who refuses to believe all the evidence pointing at Parsons is his fellow Ranger, roommate, and only friend, Captain "Rip" Metcalf (Kris Kristofferson). Metcalf teams up with his lifelong buddy, a footloose and resourceful con man named Billy Ron Barker (Willie Nelson). Together they begin their search, for Parson's convinced that the old time law enforcer is up to something. What unravels is an adventure filled with action and steeped in Texas lore as the famed Rangers, the FBI, and an age-old secret vigilante society all stalk Parsons, each with its own reason for wanting him - dead or alive.