Dale "Mac" McKussic (Mel Gibson) is a former drug dealer trying to go straight. His close friend Nick Frescia (Kurt Russell) is a detective lieutenant who, in spite of their friendship, is duty-bound to bring Mac to justice if he is selling drugs again, as Agent Hal Maguire (J. T. Walsh) of the Drug Enforcement Agency believes to be the case. Mac is attracted to stylish restaurant owner Jo Ann Vallenari (Michelle Pfeiffer). Nick becomes acquainted with Jo Ann while attempting to learn more about Mac's activities, in particular his relationship with the Mexican drug kingpin Carlos (Raúl Juliá). Jo Ann succumbs to Nick's charms and a love affair begins. Nick's friendship with Mac is endangered as Maguire and a top Mexican cop set a trap for Mac and the mysterious Carlos.