The world is now in a post-apocalyptic state after a nuclear war. The world has lost most of its energy supply. Most people live in California and use solar power. Transient tribes now control the remaining oil in the northeast. Poison Oak runs a Raunch-hand tribe that currently controls it. They are going to a yearly trial-by-battle which will determine who will control it next year. Other tribes have other roles, such as the Silos who do repair work, and the Forx, who are followers of Grendel and want to destroy all the oil.
Cyanide Ivy is Oak's sister. She watches as the gladiatorial contests go on. Her eye is caught by one of the Forx, Shiny Fork. Later, when she is attacked by another gang, he saves her. He is ruthless, nihilistic, and dangerous, but he is nice to her. They begin a relationship. However, Oak does not approve, as her brother and as the current baron of oil that the Forx want to destroy. He beats her.
She runs back into Shiny Fork's arms. He doesn't believe in love, but he continues their relationship. Oak once again beats her, and she fights back. Oak and Shiny Fork are set to fight next in the arena. Oak plans to cheat and use a gun.
Ivy turns on Oak and succumbs to the idea of Grendel: the oil will run out anyway, so why protect it? She sabotages his gun, and Shiny Fork kills him in battle. Grendel now controls the east coast.