OSCAR RIDELL, nearly dead from a gunshot wound, is saved by a local man and his daughter, “RABBIT”. Shock causes Oscar to recall the night a nuclear pulse wiped out all computers. Fearing bandits, locals in town mistrust Oscar, especially after he makes a robotic toy for Rabbit. CAPTAIN PETERSON, from the nearby National Guard unit, confronts Oscar during his first trip outside the hospital, where Oscar recognizes him as leader of the so-called bandits.
Captain Peterson lets Oscar go when he proves helpful. After failed attempts to leave town, Oscar allies with Sheriff STAN TOMLINSON, who also distrusts the militia. Oscar settles near an old theater and offers to restore it as payment for letting him stay the winter. Stan risks his badge in a poker game to gain permission for a movie, something Oscar didn’t intend but feels obligated to fulfill. Oscar breaks mission protocol and his word to the mayor by reconnecting a telephone line to get technical help and petition the National Guard to recall Captain Peterson. Oscar enlists Rabbit’s family to help run the theater and it’s opening night brings mixed feelings over film scenes showing lost technology. Rabbit’s brother is beaten by the captain’s men as a warning to Oscar, who responds by helping Stan trick them into revealing murder evidence. While calling for support, Oscar discovers that Captain Peterson escaped custody.
Oscar is captured and taken to the Guard center, with Rabbit as leverage. Stan leads a raid on the Guard center, while Oscar must unlock the armory’s vault or Rabbit will be shot. He opens the vault and locks Captain Peterson inside, while Stan’s men take over outside. As the town adjusts to a new militia, a riverboat arrives with tourists to see a movie. Oscar’s friend from the boat reminds him that there’s still much to do, so Oscar says goodbye to Rabbit after showing her a working telephone she can use to call him.