MacGyver returns home and discovers that everything in his apartment is missing. The thief has left a copy of Kidnapped
with a note directing him to an airport hanger and threatening his refrigerator. MacGyver knows only one person with that kind of humor: his old friend Jack Dalton. They traveled across Europe together with Mike Forrester and were friends for years. The hanger belongs to Jack, and MacGyver spots an open door. Using a cardboard tube, he pokes the door open and avoid the water bucket propped above. Inside, the lights come on revealing MacGyver's stuff. Jack is waiting in the rafters and MacGyver tells him to come down. Jack falls off... and the rope around his feet catch him. He asks MacGyver to cut him down and MacGyver reluctantly cuts him down. Jack explains he now runs an air freight and was smuggling orchids. He needed to call in a botanist, and he needs MacGyver to go with him to Dinato, Central America, to rescue the botanist. Jack claims that it's a simple abduction but his left eye twitches, and MacGyver knows that means he's lying. MacGyver starts to walk off and Jack says that he's dying. He says he wants to do one thing right before he dies, and his eye doesn't twitch.
MacGyver checks in with Pete, who confirms there is an American botanist in Dinato who has gone missing. The Foundation can't get involved but Pete volunteers to do anything he can personally. Jack and MacGyver take off for Dinato but MacGyver notices that Jack isn't flying with charts and is busy listening to a boom box on his radio headset. Jack assures MacGyver he knows what he's doing, but the faulty compass doesn't reassure him. MacGyver goes to get the charts and finds a photo of himself, Jack, and Michelle "Mike" Forrester. MacGyver remembers how Jack saved his life one time and Jack asks if he's seen Mike recently. MacGyver admits he hasn't seen her in four years and Jack notes that she was romantically interested in MacGyver. Jack assures him he hasn't seen Mike in a long time, but MacGyver doesn't notice his left eye is twitching.
The next morning they arrive over Dinato and Jack says no one should have noticed he was gone. Several jeeps pull up and the police get out. Jack remembers that they have to save the botanists from the police. He swings the plane around and heads down the runaway. The police, led by Colonel Antunnez, give chase. As Jack swings the plane around repeatedly, MacGyver rigs an oxygen tank with two baling hooks and catapults it under one of the jeeps. When it explodes, they buy enough time to lift off. Antunnez watches them go along with his accomplice, Sonny. Sonny reminds Antunnez that Jack has their money but Antunnez is sure that Jack won't leave without the girl.
Jack lands in a field in the jungle and explains he has a hideout nearby. MacGyver discovers that the police hit the fuel tank with a bullet and temporarily plugs the link. Jack shows MacGyver to an abandoned plane with orchid samples, and explains that Antunnez and his partner Sonny secretly stashed heroin in the orchid pots. Jack told him to take a hike and they grabbed his botanist. An angry MacGyver starts to leave but Jack finally "remembers" to tell him that Mike is their botanist.
Sonny and Antunnez interrogate Mike and demand to know where their heroin is. She says she doesn't know where the drugs or Jack are. Antunnez believes her and then prepares to eliminate her. Sonny stops him, figuring she's good for something. When Antunnez moves closer, Mike slaps her and he slaps her back.
MacGyver wonders if Jack was lying about his upcoming death, but Jack insists it's true. Jack assures him he has a plan to rescue Mike. That night, they sneak into town and go to a cantina run by the local information broker, Elena. They sneak past the soldiers and Elena warns them that Antunnez is looking for Jack. Antunnez comes out and sees them, and they run for it. Jack insists they split up, says he has a plan, and takes off in a different directions. MacGyver takes refuge in a doorway and the police run past. However, Jack steps out and cheerfully surrenders.
The next day, MacGyver and Elena approach the monastery that Antunnez has taken over. MacGyver figures that Jack plans to get close to Mike and let MacGyver save both of them. Elena says that no one gets in out of the monastery, but there was a funeral a few weeks ago. Inside, Sonny gives Jack and Mike a day to tell him where the heroin is or he'll have them killed. Once they're alone, Jack explains that MacGyver came running and will have them out.
The monks bring a wagon with a coffin into the monastery. Antunnez notes there haven't been any recent deaths. He checks one monk who actually is a monk, and then has them put the coffin on the ground. Antunnez then takes a rifle and fires repeatedly into the coffin. While he does so, MacGyver slips out of a hidden compartment in the wagon and enters the monastery. He evades some of the police and then knocks out the man guarding the prisoners. He frees Mike and Jack and they head outside. MacGyver spots a truck and they get in, but the key is missing. MacGyver hotwires the truck with foil from a cigarette pack. As he tries to start the truck, Sonny and Antunnez discover the prisoners have escaped. With Jack's help they finally get the truck going and drive through the gates past Antunnez and his men. Antunnez assures Sonny that he knows where Jack's plane is.
The truck finally gives out and as they start to walk, Jack briefly collapses. They discover that Antunnez's men have captured the plane. However, Jack tells them that they didn't have enough fuel to escape anyway. He's just glad to be together with his friends. MacGyver has a plan and tells Jack to meet with Antunnez and then buy them a half hour. Then they'll trade the plane for the drugs. MacGyver then goes back to Jack's hideout and rigs springs underneath a wooden board. He then uses wine to charge a car battery, run the wire to a nearby prop, and run a rope from the prop to a tarpaulin spread on the ground. As they cover the whole thing with branches, MacGyver gives Mike one of the orchids, kisses her, and says it's good to see her.
Jack surrenders himself and promises no more games. He offers them a proposition.
MacGyver and Mike watch as Jack brings Sonny and Antunnez back. They emerge from hiding and MacGyver tells him the heroin is by the plane. Antunnez and Sonny insists on following them. MacGyver steps on the spring, which sets off the battery and activates the prop. The trap catches Sonny but Antunnez manages to get free. Jack offers Antunnez a deal: he'll stay with Antunnez, who can't afford to kill three Americans. Jack will smuggle the heroin for Antunnez, overriding MacGyver's objections. Antunnez agrees and has Jack tie them up. MacGyver realizes that since the plane won't stay in the air, Jack is sacrificing himself. Jack gives Mike a final kiss, secretly leaves MacGyver his Swiss Army knife, and then gets the drugs and leaves with Antunnez. As soon as they're gone, MacGyver and Mike cut themselves free but MacGyver can only watch as Jack lifts off in his plane with Antunnez and flies away.
Back at MacGyver's apartment later, Mike wonders why Jack never said anything about dying, but MacGyver figures he just wanted to have fun. Pete has done some checking and has learned that the Colombian Navy picked up Antunnez. He saw the engines smoking and jumped clear into the ocean. MacGyver remembers that Jack had the engines rigged, and figures that Jack might have stretched the truth about his fuel supply just a little.