Working at a remote construction site, Dr. Kimble tries protect a coworker with a low I.Q. from being lynched when the caring married woman who's been teaching him to read, is assaulted by an unknown attacker.
Dr. Kimble is now working as a "timekeeper" at a Utah construction site. There's also a young man named Jamie working there as a "water boy" whom the heavy machinery operators make fun of and generally try to run out. They succeed. The boss fires Jamie, but Kimble tells Jamie that he should go say goodbye to the boss's wife before he leaves in the morning. That night, the boss's wife is attacked and Jamie is witnessed leaving her trailer immediately after the attack. Kimble tries to convince the boss and everyone else that they're accusing the wrong man.
Kimble is working at a construction company run by Buck Harmon (actor Jack Klugman). He has persuaded Buck to hire Jamie (actor Buck Taylor), who is of below-normal intelligence. The other workers pick on Jamie, and Kimble tries to protect him. Buck's wife Ruth (actress Elizabeth Allen) lives with Buck at the worksite. She helps Jamie to learn to read and they become close. She has no children of her own, and Jamie is like a child to her.
Ruth dresses sexily and attracts the attention of the men at the worksite. A man attacks her in the shower and leaves her unconscious. Her screams were heard by a neighbor, who sees Jamie leaving.
Jamie runs away, and everyone but Kimble is convinced of his guilt. Workers get their guns to hunt him down. From their talk Kimble fears they will kill Jamie. Kimble must protect Jamie, but this puts him up against Buck, who like the workers is convinced of Jamie's guilt.
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