A nightmare chase across the scenic spleandour of a wild continent.
David Manning, a young accountant, is unable to live within his income. He spends his spare time in Auckland with the young set - and his friends Sandra, Dorothy and Athol all like the outdoor life in the daytime and the bright lights at night. David finds himself in financial diffulties and leaves his job.
Hitch-hiking to Hokianga where he hopes to get work, he is given a lift by Laura Kossovich. She is attracted to his youthful charm and good looks. Rich and spoilt, Laura's interest in him excites his greed. Though he makes friends with a Maori family he is overcome by Laura's demands on him. When she insults Isobel, the Maori girl who is friendly to him, he sardonically attacks Laura's vanity by covering her with mud. Infuriated, Laura switches herself with tree branches so that it appears that David has assaulted her. Taking fright, David impulsively drives away from the mud flats in her car. He knows by her fury that he will be wanted not only for taking her car but also for the assault which she claims has taken place.
Intent on going back to the mountain country where as a child he was happier, he abandons the stolen car and catches a train. When police start appearing on railway stations where the train stops he leaves the train and again hitch-hikes.
He is given a lift by Tom Morton, an agressive middle-aged man who resembles his father. In an argument as they are driving along, Morton has a heart attack and dies. Feeling partly responsible for Morton's death and driven on by fear of being caught, David conceals the dead body, steals the car and crosses to the South Island.
On board the ferry he meets Diana, whose sympathy and understanding soften him. He persuades her to go to Westland with him. Once he reaches mountain country he abandons the car and flees into the bush with Diana.
They are joined in a hut in which they are sheltered by Clarry, an eccentric deer stalker. When he threatens Diana, David is forces to face up to him.
The police learn of David's hideaway. Diana cannot persuade him to give himself up. She goes with him as he attempts to cross the mountain pass at the head of a glacier. When she falls at a crevasse, David struggles on up the mountain alone. Police rescue Diana and decide to let David go and not to follow him on his hazardous attempt to cross the mountain pass.