Paul Schrader's unflinching psychological drama is set in the dark and sordid world of the porn industry. George C. Scott stars as Jake Van Dorn, a deeply religious Midwestern businessman whose daughter Kristen (Ilah Davis) runs away while on a church-sponsored outing. He hires a sleazy private detective (Peter Boyle), who discovers that Kristen has been making cheap sex films. When the father realises that he can no longer trust the detective, he decides to hunt for his daughter himself. Posing as a porn film producer casting a new film, he gathers clues with ferocious determination. His treacherous journey gives him a fast, hard lesson in big-city life and a close-up view of the world of porn, its victims and exploiters. Finally, with the help of a prostitute, he locates his daughter... but is it too late?