The Stilwins are on vacation to an isolated beach in Mexico. Walking on a deserted jetty, Doug Stilwin gets his leg trapped under one of the logs. All attempts to move the log are futile and Helen Stilwin takes the car to get help. However, an escaped criminal kidnaps her. Will she be able to return to her husband before he drowns? Written by
Barbara Stanwyck's opening voice-over narration promises a post-war celebration of the open road. It's hardly that, as Mom (Stanwyck), Dad (Barry Sullivan) and young son (Lee Aaker) motor down to Baja California. A condemned pier at a deserted beach collapses, pinning Dad; the tide is coming in. On her way to summon help, Mom picks up with a homicidal fugitive (Ralph Meeker, probably best known as Mike Hammer in Robert Aldrich's apocalypic 1955 noir, Kiss Me Deadly). He grows more menacing as the water rises.... There's really not much to this movie, with its principal cast of four characters, but it's watchable. The strangest thing about it is probably the curious change of heart on the part of one -- or more? -- of the characters at the end.
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