The excessive violence in this action thriller makes New York City look like the site of a civil war -- or rather, a nauseatingly uncivil war fought between factory workers allied with neighborhood citizens against their enemies: drug pushers and other low-lifes. At first the worker Eddie Merino (Robert Forster) refuses to join a vigilante movement, but when his wife is stabbed and his son killed by a Puerto Rican gang, Eddie eventually opts for his own right to kill.
His decision is not allowed to come quickly, he is made to agonize a bit longer. When the gang leader (singer Willie Colón) who killed Eddie's son is caught and brought up for trial, he gets off with a suspended sentence because of a corrupt defense lawyer and an inept judge. Eddie attacks the judge in court and is sent to jail for contempt.
When he gets out of jail, he becomes a vigilante, out to kill the guilty or those he sees as protecting the guilty in the death of his son. From then on, a non-stop bloodbath takes over as the star of the film.