James Storer and his sidekicks pull off a daring bank heist and escape the pursuing police with a thrilling chase over a spectacular bay on jet skis; but they don’t count on tenacious detective Scott Tremaine. Using a chopper Tremaine finally runs James to ground on a beach just moments before he reaches safety.
After 10 years in jail James is offered parole, conditional upon him leading a group of delinquent teenagers on a weekend rafting trip through dense, dangerous terrain. A new rehab program is being trialed with hardcore criminals matched to young offenders in an effort to keep them from also ending up in prison.
James finds himself deep in remote woodland with six streetwise felons who have been bullied and blackmailed into joining the experiment by Liz, a hard boiled parole officer. Things start badly with the six suspicious of each other and hostile to James and Liz. James has to draw on all his resources to threaten and cajole the group to put aside their distrust and wariness, to shoulder their rafts and trek through the isolated forest to the river.
Despite efforts by James and Liz to establish a rapport with the kids, one of them takes off into the night with the satellite radio – their only contact to the outside. Tensions mount and as a major thunderstorm breaks matters steadily worsen: Liz disappears into the pounding rain; the teens become aware of a menacing presence hovering around the campsite and morning reveals most of their camping gear damaged or missing.
James realizes the heavy rain will have pushed the dam upstream to capacity and it’s dangerous for them to be on the river. To get downstream as fast as possible he forces the kids to continue, making them battle white water rapids. Beset by injuries and unnerved by the disappearance of several of the group, some of the teens have started to confide in each other; but some are still guarded and cautious – are all the problems they encounter set up by James? Can they trust him? It seems someone or something doesn’t want them to make it. Driven by panic and dread they press on.
Before the trip is over James will have to confront demons from his past and answer tough questions about the missing money from the heist and the teens will have to allay their fears, put their trust in each other and pull together if they are to survive.