Returning from a stint in the Air Force, clean-cut young Carrol Jo Hummer (Jan-Michael Vincent) borrows money to buy a second-hand truck, hoping to make enough money hauling produce as an independent trucker (like his late father) to marry his childhood sweetheart Jerri Kane (Kay Lenz) and set up house together.
He discovers that the Arizona long-haul business is run by racketeers – everyone from his father’s old friend and onetime partner, Duane (Slim Pickens) down to an old police buddy is in the pay of John Cutler (Don Porter) and his shady associates – and decides to fight the corrupt forces that control the trucking business.
Hummer can stand being beaten up, locked in his cargo van face-down in cow manure, being run off the road or threatened with a trumped-up murder charge – but when attacks are made on his truck (“Blue Mule”), his home and his pregnant wife, the mad young trucker takes his revenge.
In the end, though – in a pointless scene which seemingly exists just to suggest his bravery and honesty has earned him the support of everyone in town – the film finishes inconclusively with only an implied positive result from his reckless heroism.
Carrol Jo Hummer
Johnny Ray Mcghee
John David Garfield