MacGyver is tracking two men who hired on with a government contractor and then started stealing classified information. He follows them to a nightclub but the men spot him. One of them approaches him and draws a gun. MacGyver spots him and gets two glasses of rum from the bartender, and then tries to borrow a book of matches. Before he can get them, the man opens fire...
On a plane flying toward Chinook National Park, MacGyver explains to the pilot that he got lucky: the man's gun jammed and MacGyver punched him unconscious. The plane lands and the local park ranger, Karen, is waiting. She and MacGyver know each other and she warmly greets him. They met in college and were together for a couple of years, but when she wanted something more permanent MacGyver moved on and Karen became a park ranger. She brings him back to her base of operations and her cabin. As he unpacks, he notices a pair of men's boots. Karen says they belong to Sam Sheehan, who is out right now. Sam is her current boyfriend. She assures MacGyver that she's told Sam all about him, and she just considers MacGyver a friend.
That night, MacGyver is lying awake when Sam arrives. MacGyver feigns sleep as Sam and Karen go to bed.
The next morning, MacGyver goes out with Karen as she tracks endangered grizzly bears in the park. Karen wonders how long he'll stay and MacGyver admits he didn't know. He wonders why she didn't tell him about Sam and wonders what she would do if he wanted to stay longer. MacGyver says his near-death experience gave him the chance to think about what's really important. Karen doesn't answer him and talks about the local grizzly, Badger. However, she notices the grizzly's bloody bear print and realizes poachers are present. She follows the tracks to a truck where three poachers are loading the deadly grizzly aboard. They drive away before she can do more than fire two shots. MacGyver stops her and she explains she was shooting at the tires.
Back at the cabin, Karen admits she can't deal with him being there. He asks to help but she tells him to leave while she tracks down the poachers. Karen points out that every time she tried to be part of what he had planned, he changed his mind. She goes off and MacGyver goes to the nearby town to catch a seaplane back. As he waits at the cafe, he listens to a couple ordering bear steaks and orders a salad. He goes to wash up and leaves his pack at the counter. In the back, the poachers are selling bear steak to the owner. MacGyver overhears them as one of the poachers, Ed, threatens the owner as he tries to back out of paying for bear meat. MacGyver goes outside and checks their truck. He's forced to hide beneath the truck when the two poachers, Ed and Wyatt, come out. MacGyver hangs onto the bottom of the truck as they back away, and then leaps in the back.
Ed and Wyatt drive out into the park. Once they go into the woods, he goes through the truck, figuring to get a positive identification to help Karen. The third poacher, Earl, meets his friends and they settle in to hunt deer. Meanwhile, MacGyver sabotages the distributor cap on the truck. The poachers shoot a deer and Karen hears the shot, but can't raise Sam on the radio. She goes to investigate and finds MacGyver, also going to check out the shots. He explains why he's there and that he's found a good spot where she can arrest them. Karen agrees to let him help. However, as the poachers come back, Wyatt spots footprints. They split up and Wyatt continues up the trail on his own. Karen goes after him before MacGyver can warn her there's others, and Ed opens fire, bringing her down. Wyatt suggests they leave and Ed agrees, telling MacGyver not to follow them.
Once the poachers are gone, MacGyver confirms its a graze and tends to her wound. Meanwhile, the poachers get to the truck and discover that it's been sabotaged. Ed figures they have no choice now: they have to eliminate MacGyver and Karen.
MacGyver gets Karen down the trail and she directs him toward a help station where there's a radio. MacGyver uses a branch to throw a bandanna across a creek downstream and then head upstream. The poachers split up and Ed and Wyatt spot the bandanna, then fire a shot to attract Earl's attention. He comes running and they all cross, but Wyatt realizes there's no footprints, spots the branch, and realizes they've been tricked. They head upstream in pursuit and spot MacGyver's tracks. Meanwhile, Karen is unable to go further and MacGyver leaves her to double back and rig a trap with a tranquilizer dart. He sets out the distributor cap as bait and the poachers found out. Ed refuses to give up and smashes the distributor cap, and then dares Wyatt to shoot him. Earl walks away, sets off MacGyver's trap, and is knocked out by the dart.
MacGyver returns to Karen and assures her he won't abandon her no matter what.
Ed figures out how to get ahead of MacGyver and Karen by crossing a ridge.
The rangers discover the poachers' truck and begin a search.
Wyatt and Ed get to the cabin first and break in. Ed sabotages the radio and the two poachers wait.
As MacGyver and Karen approach the cabin, a ranger helicopter passes overhead but doesn't see them. The poachers, waiting in ambush, take cover so the chopper ranger doesn't see them. MacGyver sets up a signal arrow on the ground and spots some limonite. He collects the limonite and paints the signal arrow with it.
Wyatt starts to panic and threatens to leave, but Ed warns that he'll put the bodies on Wyatt's land. Wyatt has no choice but to stay.
Sam and the other rangers continue the search while MacGyver finishes the signal arrow and gets Karen to the cabin. However, he notices that the door has been broken open and realizes that someone has broken in. MacGyver spots the poachers in a hunting blind and realizes it's a trap. He camouflages Karen in the woods and then circles around. MacGyver uses the elastic cord from Karen's cord and a flashlight barrel to make a crude projection device for the tranquilizer darts from Karen's gun. Using matches, MacGyver makes a crude timing device to release a string to shoot Karen's coat from a taut branch into the air and draw the poachers' attention. When Ed and Wyatt fire, MacGyver hits Ed with a dart and knocks him out. MacGyver ducks back into the woods and Wyatt decides it's best to leave. However, the rangers arrive and arrest him. Sam goes to help MacGyver and thanks him as he helps Karen to the trucks.
Later, Karen sees MacGyver off as he prepare to catch the seaplane out. He realizes she's found her place and wishes her well. The two friends embrace and MacGyver leaves.