A huge blizzard is bearing down on Colorado, threatening to close all routes in and out of the Rockies while burying the Centennial State beneath several feet of snow.
Three connected stories slowly wind together into this taut suspense thriller. SwitchBack sets up a cat and mouse game involving a serial killer, a Texas sheriff seeking re-election and an obsessed FBI agent. And the audience.
While a baby-sitter (Claudia Stedelin) cares for a young boy at his family home, she is murdered, then the boy is kidnapped from his affluent parents' home. A doctor-turned-drifter wanders through Texas, trying to hitch a ride to Salt Lake City.
An ex-railroad worker driving around in a cadillac (with an interior decorated by nude pin- ups) offers him a ride. A serial killer strikes in Amarillo, where the current sheriff is embroiled in a pitched battle for re-election against a powerful opponent.
Frank La Crosse (Dennis Quaid), an FBI agent with an overactive interest in a serial killer investigation, arrives in Texas to look into the latest murder seemingly committed by a killer he's been chasing for years, the local sheriff, Buck Olmstead (R. Lee Ermey), is a little suspicious about Frank's intensity.
Ultimately, Buck trusts his instincts and the two form a partnership that is one of the movie's most humanizing aspects.
SwitchBack moves back and forth between the murder investigation and the travels of the two men in the car, slowly pulling the characters together into the same frame