Famous for brazenly hopping the most dangerous trains, even legendary hobo A no. 1 (Lee Marvin) won't ride a locomotive guarded by brutal railway cop Shack (Ernest Borgnine). But when his young protégé, Cigaret (Keith Carradine), boasts that he'll hop Shack's train, A no. 1 joins him, unwilling to lose his hard-won moniker. Soon, the two tramps are in a life-or-death battle with the sadistic Shack in this intense Depression-era drama.