While the warden (real-life warden Frank A. Eyman) of a state prison is away, the isolation block erupts and 35 of the most violent criminals (led by Gene Hackman) stage a riot and take over their area of the prison. Cully Briston (Jim Brown), in for five years and awaiting his parole, wants no part of the riot. He impulsively gets involved, defending a prison guard and protecting him from the other criminals in the block. This tense drama is based on Frank Elli's novel, which chronicled an actual riot that took place in a Minnesota prison. A prison break is planned as knives slash, fists fly, and blood is spilled. The film is directed by Buzz Kulik (Brian's Song).