A man is walking down a road and sees a café up ahead. Music is playing and he goes to investigate. The diner is seemingly deserted and he calls out for anyone to tell him what road is up ahead. He looks around and finds food cooking on the grill as if someone had just left. As he knocks a clock to the ground, the music on the jukebox stops and the man serves himself some coffee. He takes some money out of his pocket to pay and realizes that it's American, and admits that he doesn't know who he is. He figures that he has to wake up any minute.
The man goes out and walks down the road to the nearby town. The streets are deserted but he hears a bell in the clock tower ring. He looks in several buildings but no one responds. He spots what appears to be a woman in a van across the street. He starts talking to her as he walks over, but gets no response. When he opens the door, the "woman" falls out and he discovers it's a mannequin. He mockingly apologizes to it and then decides to try driving away, but discovers there's no key in the ignition. Suddenly a phone rings and he runs to the nearby phone booth. He picks up the receiver but no one answers. When he calls the operator, he gets a recorded message. He does a phonebook saying that he's in Oakwood, He thumbs through it desperately and then wonders who is watching any of the stores. He turns and tries to get out, only to discover that he can't get the door open. He calls out for help but gets no response. Finally he realizes that he has to pull instead of push and gets out.
The man goes to the police station and finds the place empty. As he searches the place, he has the sensation that he's being watched and listened to. He gets on the radio and calls for anyone, and then notices a cigar burning in an ashtray. When he hears water running, he goes into the cells and finds a sink with a fresh washcloth and soap. When the cell door starts to close, he hastily jumps out, insisting that it's time to wake up. The man runs outside and yells, asking where everybody is hiding, but gets no response.
The man goes to a drugstore and makes himself a sundae, and wonders if he's imagining the entire thing or dreaming. He admits that nobody could come up with a dream this detailed. He looks at the magazine and book racks and sees a book titled "The Last Man on Earth." The man goes outside and plays tic-tac-toe against himself in the dirt as night falls. All of the lights in town come on and the man goes to the theater. He sees a poster outside for an Air Force movie and realizes he's wearing an Air Force coverall. H runs into the theater, yelling that he's in the Air Force. However, he has no idea what it means and wonders if there was a bomb. The lights go off and the movie starts. The man runs up to the projection booth but there's no one inside. He runs back to the lobby and slams into the mirror, knocking himself to the floor. Recovering, he runs outside and goes through the streets, looking for anyone. He trips over a bicycle and sees an optometrist's eye sign looking down at him. He runs to a stoplight and punches the button desperately, begging for help as the walk lights flash on and off.
In an auditorium, Air Force officers watch on a screen as the man pounds desperately. The man in charge tells the others to release the subject right away. Technicians go to a cube in the middle of a hanger and release the man, who is desperately pushing on an abort button and pounding on a broken clock. They unfasten the monitoring equipment and confirm that he last four hundred and eighty-four hours in complete isolation. The press comes in and the general in charge tells them that the sergeant, Mike Ferris, was confined in the box for a simulated trip to the Moon and back. All of Ferris' bodily functions were charted and near the end, he had hallucinations.
As Ferris is taken away, he explains what he experienced The doctor explains that they can't overcome the one basic need of a man: companionship. The general warns that the next time it happens, it will be for real. As Ferris is taken outside, he looks up at the sky and vows that soon they'll be up there for real.