A down and out young punk gets a job working with a seasoned repo man, but what awaits him in his new career is a series of outlandish adventures revolving around aliens, the CIA, and a most wanted '64 Chevy.
Outside of Goffs, California, in the Mojave Desert, a policeman pulls over a 1964 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Dr. J. Frank Parnell (Fox Harris). The policeman opens the trunk, sees a blinding flash of white light, and is instantly vaporized, leaving only his boots behind.
Otto Maddox (Emilio Estevez), a young punk rocker living in Los Angeles, is fired from his boring job as a supermarket stock clerk. His girlfriend leaves him for his best friend. Depressed and broke, Otto is wandering the streets when a man named Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) drives up and offers him $25 to drive a car out of the neighborhood.
Otto follows Bud in the car to the “Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation” (a small automobile repossession agency), where he learns that the car he drove was being repossessed. He refuses to join Bud as a repossession agent, or “repo man”, and goes to his parents’ house. He learns that his burned-out, pot-smoking, ex-hippie parents (Jonathan Hugger, Sharon Gregg) have donated the money they promised him for finishing school to a crooked televangelist. He decides to take the repo job.
Otto soon learns that, as Bud had told him: (the life of a) “repo man is always intense.” He enjoys the fast living, drug use, car chases, hot-wiring cars, and good pay. His old life is boring by comparison.
After repossessing a flashy red Cadillac, Otto sees a girl named Leila (Olivia Barash) running down the street. He gives her a ride to her workplace, the United Fruitcake Outlet (“UFO”…), where they have sex in the backseat. On the way, Leila shows Otto pictures of aliens that she says are in the trunk of a Chevy Malibu. She claims that they are dead but still dangerous because of the radiation that they emit. Meanwhile, Helping Hand and its repo rivals are offered a $20,000 bounty notice for the Malibu. Most assume that the car is drug-related, because the bounty is so far above the actual value of the car…