Packer was known to have raped many women prior to his capture and incarceration at the Wyoming State Penitentary. While he was there, he was approached by fellow prisoner Davis to aid in a prison break, and Packer agreed.
A forest fire erupted near the prison so a group of convicts were put on a bus and taken out to the woods to assist a crew of firemen in battling the blaze. On the bus, Packer was introduced to his co-conspirators; former wrestler Karge, ex-pilot Loomis, the nervous Wilkins and group leader Randall Shaye.
They reached a group of firefighters facing the fire, and all the convicts got off the bus. Wilkins provided distraction while Shaye knocked a prison guard and the others took the remaining guards, convicts and firemen hostage. Shaye killed Wilkins and framed a dead prison guard before they all stole the clothes of the firefighters and made off into the wilderness.
The group encountered Jennifer, a bird watcher trying to escape the burning forest, and they agreed to accompany her to the supply post. Suddenly, smokejumper Jesse Graves landed nearby and warned the gang that they were walking towards a back fire he had lit. He then went with them to the supply post.
At the supply post, Shaye revealed that they were criminals and sent Karge to kill Jesse in the supply post. He ordered Packer and Loomis to take Jennifer to a nearby car and wait for him. In the car, Packer told Jennifer not to worry as he would not let any harm come to her. She wrapped a seatbelt around Loomis' neck and tried to pull a gun on Packer, only to find that it was not loaded. Shaye then arrived and told the group that Jesse had killed Karge (although he had actually killed Karge himself) and they drove away.
Jesse sprang a trap on the unsuspecting escapees and rescued Jennifer. As she now knew their escape plan, Shaye determined that she needed to be killed. Packer tried to convince him not to, but Shaye refused to listen. Loomis then crashed the car and they had to carry on on foot. While crossing over a ridge, Shaye pushed Loomis to his death and said that he slipped. This left only Shaye and Packer.
They eventually caught up with Jennifer, who Packer knocked to the ground. He was angry as she didn't believe him when he told her she would be safe with him. However, it turned out to be a trap; Jesse leapt down from the tree above and snared Packer's leg with a rope, dragging him off his feet and leaving him dangling upside down.
Shaye opened fire and tried to shoot Jesse, while Packer yelled at him because Jesse was the only thing keeping him up. Jesse rolled away and escaped into the smoke, while Packer fell toward the ground. He stopped short of actually landing and continued to berate Shaye. He then demanded that Shaye cut him down. Shaye replied "With pleasure" and emptied his gun into Packer. He then grabbed Jennifer and dragged her away, leaving Packer's body suspended from the tree.
- Packer: You ignorant son of a bitch! Why the hell were you shooting at him for? He was holding me up! You shot me in the arm, you psycho motherfucker! Cut me down, you selfish asshole, right now!
- Shaye: With pleasure! [shoots Packer]