Sacked museum security guard Sam Bailey (John Travolta) returns to his old place of employment to beg for his job back. Unfortunately, his method of negotiation involves pulling a gun on his boss and the situation suddenly escalates into a siege. TV reporter Max Brackett (Dustin Hoffman) happens to be in the building at the time and senses the scoop of his career. However, when the story goes nationwide, the big networks try to muscle in and claim it as their own. Meanwhile, the increasingly edgy security guard reveals what is in his holdall: enough dynamite to blow the museum to bits.