Avery Allan Ludlow (Brian Cox), a Korean War vet with a tragic past, lives alone in a small town, where he runs the local hardware store. Av’s only companion is a 14 year-old ginger-haired dog, aptly named Red by Av’s late wife. One day, Av and Red are enjoying a placid outing at their favorite fishing spot when three boys and a shotgun come along. In an instant, Av’s lifelong friend is gone, the victim of a cruel, senseless act.
Devastated, Av determines to find out who the boys are and why they did it. Helped by a local reporter (Dickens), Av tries to expose the truth, but his efforts are ignored by authorities and mocked by the teenagers. The boys’ parents, a rich local businessman (Sizemore) and, across town, a hardscrabble laborer (Englund) and his wife (Plummer), are just as determined to keep Av down. But, faithful to the memory of his best friend, Av single-mindedly presses for justice—with or without the law on his side.