Chance Buckman (John Wayne) heads a team of international trouble shooters who travel around the world to put out oil fires. The dangerous profession has taken a toll on the marriage between Chance and Madelyn (Vera Miles), who leaves when she can no longer endure the stress of saying goodbye and fearing she will never see him again. With his faithful assistant Greg (Jim Hutton), the team is ready at a moments notice to race anywhere to extinguish the flames of oil fires raging out of control. Greg eventually falls for Chance's daughter, Tish (Katherine Ross), who shares her mother's concern over the dangers the men endure. Hellfighters received technical advising from famed oil-well fighter Red Adair and his assistants who provided excellent and credible information for the film and the pyrotechnic team headed by legendary special-effects expert Fred Knoth.