Pretty boy actor C. Thomas Howell stars in this dark, violent suspense film about the strange psychological bond between a traveling serial killer and one of his intended victims. Driving cross-country from Chicago to San Diego, Jim (Howell) narrowly avoids an accident when he falls asleep at the wheel. He picks up a hitchhiker to help stay awake, but within five minutes, the erratic John Ryder (Rutger Hauer) has threatened not only Jim's life, but also his manhood, brandishing a switchblade to the boy's crotch and ordering him to keep driving. Jim manages to escape, but soon Ryder begins a game of cat-and-mouse across the Texas highways, taunting the lad from the windows of passing cars, then leaving the corpses of his victims in their vehicles by the side of the road for Jim to discover. A sympathetic face arrives in the form of Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the waitress at an otherwise deserted truck stop in this bleak, abandoned landscape, but the local police soon arrive, intent on hanging Jim out to dry for the string of grisly murders.
A beautiful pairing – the keyboards of Bill Evans and harmonica of Toots Thielemans – presented here in a space that marks the record as one of the best from both players in the 70s! Some tunes are sad and blue, and very spare – others a bit more upbeat and lyrical, almost taking us back to Bill's more sprightly modes of the early 60s – and the clear, clean sound offers up the best tones from both players in a perfect space. Other musicians include Marc Johnson on bass, Eliot Zigmund on drums, and Larry Schneider on flute, tenor, and soprano sax – and Evans plays a bit of electric piano in addition to acoustic, something we always love!