Tom Phillips (Dana Andrews), his wife Peg (Jeanne Crain), their teenage daughter Tina (Laurie Mock) and little boy Jamie drive through the California desert heading for a new life running a motel. Phillips’ had been hit by a drunk driver on Christmas Eve leaving him with a severe back injury that ended his career as a regional salesman.
Things go haywire when teenage bad girl Gloria (Mimsy Farmer) and her two delinquent hot rodder boyfriends, Duke (Paul Bertoya) and Ernie (Gene Kirkwood), chase them in their souped-up vehicle.
Tom seeks sanctuary in a busy picnic area and while the family wait there, Tina meets Duke. That night, she sneaks out of her room at the hotel to look for Duke in a nearby rock ‘n’ roll club.
With Duke now attempting to seduce the daughter, Dad is finally driven to take action.
The film was originally titled 52 Miles to Terror and intended as a made-for-TV movie for ABC. It was deemed too intense and released theatrically instead.
Charles P. Thompson