A man is discovered breaking into his own jewelry shop in the dead of night. Questioned closely, it is discovered that his wife is being held hostage at their home by Steve (Clancy Brown), a brutal extortionist who demands the diamonds in the shop's safe in exchange for the woman's life. After Steve kills the family maid, FBI agent Warren Stantin (Sidney Poitier) hands over the diamonds, but Steve kills the jeweler's wife, anyway, and escapes. Feeling that he has failed, Stantin becomes obsessed with finding Steve, and he chases Steve into the rugged forests of the state of Washington, where Steve joins up with a group of sportsmen who plan to trek into the wilderness on a fishing trip. Steve's plan is to kill them and force their guide, Sarah (Kirstie Alley), to lead him through the wilderness to the Canadian border.
Stantin must team up with Sarah's mountain-man boyfriend Jonathan Knox (Tom Berenger) to pursue Steve. Jonathan does not believe city slicker Stantin can keep up on a tough cross-country hike that includes some rock climbing, and Stantin is determined to prove himself. They pursue Steve and Sarah into the wilderness and eventually to the streets of Vancouver. The movie also featured a chase scene aboard the BC Ferries Queen of Vancouver. After a long chase, Stantin manages to shoot Steve in an underwater struggle.
The killer's identity is not revealed until midway through the film. He attempts to evade detection by killing a member of a hiking expedition and taking his place. To keep the audience guessing as to the true identity of the villain, some of the hikers were played by actors known for playing bad guys: notably Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption), Frederick Coffin (Mother's Day), Andrew Robinson (Dirty Harry) and Richard Masur (the vicious drug dealer in Who'll Stop the Rain).
- Sidney Poitier as Warren Stantin
- Tom Berenger as Jonathan Knox
- Andrew Robinson as Harvey
- Kirstie Alley as Sarah Renell
- Clancy Brown as Steve
- Ken Camroux as Charles Denham
- Frederick Coffin as Ralph
- Fred Henderson as Agent Owenby
- Samuel Hiona as Inspector Hsu
- Les Lannom as Sheriff Dave Arnett
- Robert Lesser as Agent Minelli
- Michael MacRae as Fournier
- Walter Marsh as Sam Baker
- Richard Masur as Norman
- Janet Rotblatt as Mrs. Berger
- Kevin Scannell as Ben
- Frank C. Turner as Austin Crilley
Critically well received, the film currently holds a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
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