While performing a benefit concert in her hometown, rock star Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is kidnapped by the biker gang The Bombers, led by Raven (Willem Dafoe). In the audience is Reva Cody, who writes to her brother Tom (Michael Pare), a mercenary and former boyfriend of Ellen, to come back to town and rescue her. Tom arrives and agrees to find her, but he won't do it for free. After meeting up with McCoy (Amy Madigan), a former soldier looking for work, Tom meets with Ellen's agent and current boyfriend Billy Fish (Rick Moranis). Billy agrees to pay Tom and McCoy $10,000 to get Ellen back, but Tom says that part of the deal is for Billy to come with them. The Bombers are holding Ellen at a bar that Billy used to book acts for, so he knows that part of town.
The three travel to the Battery, the part of town where the Bombers are holding Ellen, and put their plan in motion. Tom distracts most of the gang by blowing up their motorcycles, and McCoy holds Raven and the rest of the gang in the bar at gunpoint. Tom then enters the bar, unties Ellen, and the three of them meet up with Billy, who's driving the getaway car. Billy, McCoy, and Ellen drive off to the designated meeting point, but before Tom can get away, Raven tells him that he will get Ellen back and come after him. While they await Tom's return, Billy tells Ellen that the only reason he agreed to rescue her was because he was getting paid to do so, but McCoy tells Billy that he and Ellen used to be together. They meet up with Tom, who tells them they have to abandon the car and they hijack the tour bus of The Sorels, a doo-wop group coming to town looking for a gig.
Now safely back in Richmond, the part of town Ellen calls home, Tom wonders why Ellen isn't more grateful she was rescued. Reva tells Tom that's because she thinks you only did it for the money, not her. When Tom goes to collect the money from Billy, he only takes McCoy's share and, with Ellen watching, gives back the rest of the money and walks out. Ellen, realizing that Tom sti
ll has feelings for her, follows him outside and kisses him. Meanwhile, Raven confronts the police chief and gives him an offer. He wants to fight Tom alone, and if the police leave them alone, he and The Bombers will return to the Battery and never return to Richmond. The chief accepts the offer, then goes to Tom and tells him to get on the next train out of town, which he does. McCoy goes with him because they are now partners, and Ellen also goes with because she wants to stay with Tom, even willing to give up her singing career to do so. Tom knocks out Ellen, and tells McCoy to make sure she is safely out of the area. Tom then gets off the train and returns to town.
When Tom gets to Richmond, Raven and The Bombers are waiting for him, along with everyone from the neighborhood. The two fight each other with railroad hammers, with Tom eventually winning the fight. The gang picks up Raven and drives off, with the townspeople making sure that they hold their end of the bargain and never return to Richmond. That night, the benefit concert is re-started with Billy's newest act, the Sorels, opening for Ellen and her band. Backstage, Tom apologizes for hitting Ellen, and then tells her that they can't be together anymore. Tom can't see himself giving up his life to be her roadie, and he knows that she can't give up singing. After saying his final goodbye to Ellen and Reva, Tom and McCoy drive off together, looking for a new adventure.