A new breed of anti-hero appeared in 1970s cinema. Obsession, violence and instability characterized these protagonists, regardless of what side of the law they were on. Stone Killer is underworld argot for these particularly cold-blooded and ruthless characters and New York detective Torrey (Charles Bronson) is just such a man. Chief among Torrey's enemies is mob tycoon Vescari (Martin Balsam), an old-school capo who has eluded Torrey and is now expanding out west. To track him down, Torrey must travel from the seamy underworld of Spanish Harlem and Little Italy to laid-back Southern California - skid row, Hollywood and the canyons. A bad shooting provides the excuse to get Torrey out of New York, where he is viewed as a problem by the police brass. In Los Angeles, Torrey has the same issues, but he finds himself in a very different society. Mathews (Ralph Waite), a bungling bigot distracted by problems with his teenage daughter (Christina Raines), is assigned by Detective Captain Daniels (Norman Fell) to assist Torrey - and keep tabs on him. In the idyllic world of Southern California's Topanga Canyon, Torrey meets Gerry (Kelly Miles), an airline stewardess convicted on a bad check charge who has left the straight world to live in a psychedelic commune. Torrey isn't interested in her or the kaleidoscope of New Age pleasures; he uses her to get closer to Vescari and his latest score. True to the tradition of the '70s anti-hero, Torrey is never distracted - he's relentless in pursuing a kind of justice indistinguishable from vigilantism. And in the end, out in the desert and far from civilization, he will be forced to confront evil on its own savage terms.