Wilson (Stamp) is an ageing British ex-gangster fresh out of jail after a nine-year stretch and is determined to discover the truth behind his daughter's recent death in Los Angeles.
Wilson arrives at Los Angeles airport and taxis to a motel where he unpacks his sparse luggage. He re-reads a letter and the accompanying newspaper clipping which he received whilst in prison. The article tells of woman, Jennifer Wilson aged 27, who died in a car accident on Mullholland Drive. The sender was an Ed Roey, and his address is in LA.
Wilson visits Ed Roey(Luis Guzman), and notices he has a tattoo which identifying him as a fellow ex-convict. Roey tells Wilson all he knows: Jennifer was the girlfriend of a man called Terry Valentine, and close to the time of her death he drove her a "bad place" to meet some people in connection with Valentine.
Wilson acquires a handgun from a deal from some youths in a local park and pays a visit to the aforementioned "bad place". Cutting through a wire fence and entering a warehouse, Wilson is quizzed by the suspicious site manager, who is further disturbed by Wilson's mention of the name Terry Valentine. Wilson attacks the foreman, pins him down, and tears Valentine's address card from a Rolodex. The foreman's heavies arrive and over-power Wilson, who is forced to reveal his true identity and his connection to Valentine. The foreman enrages Wilson through abusive and suggestive remarks about Jennifer, and in return receives a knee to the groin. Wilson is outnumbered and not seen as a threat, so is forthwith beaten and thrown out. however, he immediately rises and re-enters the warehouse. Sounds of confusion and gunshots follow. All but one of the gang escape. He is allowed to run. Wilson bellows after him "Tell him I'm coming!".
We are next introduced to Terry Valentine (Peter Fonda). He lives in an apartment built on a cliff face, has a winning smile, and a beautiful young girlfriend half his age. He also has a bodyguard, Jim Avery (Barry Newman). Avery informs Valentine of the mysterious lone gunman who slaughtered the warehouse staff, and of his warning "Tell him I'm coming". "Tell who?" they ponder. Avery and Valentine bicker about their connection to the dodgy warehouse staff. It seems they were befriended in order to help Valentine out of a tight spot. Avery is happy because now the deal's been done, the money has come through, and the icing on the cake is the middlemen are now dead. But Valentine is worried because if Jennifer made the connection between him and them, then maybe others can too. Maybe this lone gunman has made the same connection?
We return to Wilson, and Ed expands upon his knowledge of Jennifer and Valentine. It seems they were lovers for 5 years. Wilson is given cause to re-evaluate. He trusts Jenny's judgement, so maybe Valentine is an OK guy. Jenny and Ed were friends. They met through acting class. Another friend she met through her acting was Elaine, Jenny's voice coach. This gives Wilson a new lead.
Wilson calls on Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren). She used to be a professional actress. It was her who gave Wilson's address to Ed. Jennifer at first denied having a father, but had then told Elaine all about him and how she was disappointed in him. Wilson reflects upon Jennifer's mother in a flashback. She died when Jenny was just six. Elaine expands upon Valentine. She says he's a rock'n'roll producer and promoter who struck gold with the whole "60's California zeitgeist" when he "ran with it".
Wilson enlists Ed's help. They gatecrash a daytime party Valentine is hosting at his cliff-top pad. Meanwhile Valentine and his new girlfriend Adhara (Amelia Heinle) are getting ready. It is apparent that Valentine is a product of the Sixties, and his life hasn't progressed out of that decade. Wilson prowles around the house, and takes a photo of Jenny that hangs upon the wall. Wilson is fixated by the thought that now is the time to get revenge, and visualises shooting Valentine there and then. He is about to put his plan into action, but is stopped at the crucial moment by Ed. For the first time Wilson's and Valentine's eyes meet. The keen eyed Avery, the bodyguard, is suspicious and dispatches one of his cronies to investigate Wilson who is now standing outside by the cliff-top swimming pool. Wilson greets him with a head-butt and sends the hapless individual plunging over the railing to his death. Ed ushers Wilson to a car to make a sharp getaway. Avery gives chase, taking a shortcut to cut them off and get sin a few shots with his pump-action shotgun. Wilson counters with some nifty reversing which bumps Avery's car, minus Avery, off the road and crashing down a steep incline. Avery has lost the chase, but overhears Ed call Wilson by his name.
Back at the party the bouncer's death has been explained away to the authorities as a suicide. Avery has pieced the puzzle together and informs Valentine that the mystery man is Jennifer's father fresh out of prison. Valentine loses his cool. He is scared, and it's apparent that he's dependent on Avery to protect him. It's time to disappear. He'll take Adhara to his hideaway further up on the coastline.
Avery delves back into the criminal underworld and approaches two contract killers he's had dealings with before. They are Stacey (Nicky Katt) and John (Joe Dallessandro).
knows no boundary