The Cahulawassee River is soon to be destroyed, along with the beautiful country that surrounds it. Eager to see it before it's gone, adventurer and outdoor fanatic Lewis (Burt Reynolds) organizes a trip for him and his friends Ed (Jon Voight), Drew (Ronny Cox) and Bobby (Ned Beatty) to river-raft their way from top to bottom in search of great adventure. Little do they know, they're in for much more than they originally bargained for when two mountain men take Ed and Bobby hostage. In a brave attempt to save his friends, Lewis kills one of the mountain men. Now they've got a dead person on their hands and there's no going back... especially deep in the American back-country where nobody's on your side.