Chuck Noland, a Federal Express efficiency supervisor, jets around the world trouble-shooting problems for the company. His life is driven by the clock, and he demands the same of FedEx employees. On Christmas Eve, he's unexpectedly dispatched on an assignment. Just before leaving, he proposes to his girlfriend, Kelly, and promises her, "I'll be right back". The FedEx plane he hitches a ride on hits a severe storm and is blown hundreds of miles off course. The plane crashes into the Pacific ocean, and Chuck, the only survivor, drifts to a small deserted island. For the next four years he struggles to survive, using salvaged items from washed up FedEx packages as tools (i.e. an ice skating boot becomes an axe). He purposely leaves one package unopened. Chuck's only companion is Wilson, a volleyball, and as time passes his loneliness leads to suicidal tendencies. Knowing he must get off the island, he builds a crude raft and heads out to sea.