A lonely wanderer—Mad Max—gets his car taken from him by a war party. He's none too pleased. He finds himself a captive at the Citadel, a ruthless society ruled over by the tyrant Immortan Joe. While Max is held prisoner, the Imperator Furiosa sets off with a war party to retrieve gas and bullets from Gas Town and the Bullet Farm—on Immortan Joe's orders.
Only instead of following orders, Furiosa defies them, and takes the war party off course and into hostile territory. She's making a run for it—and she's taking Immortan Joe's five wives, his "prize breeders," with her. She's after redemption—and they're after freedom.
When Immortan Joe discovers Furiosa's betrayal, he sends a war party made up of War Boys and their vicious vehicles after them. Max gets swept up in the action when he's forced to accompany a War Boy named Nux, for whom he's providing a blood transfusion. While the war party fails to retrieve Furiosa in the chase, Max manages to free himself, and tries to steal Furiosa's truck—the War Rig—from her and the wives. But Furiosa has installed a kill switch, so she and the wives are coming with—whether Max likes it or not.
Max, Furiosa, and the wives make their escape, now pursued by Immortan Joe's war party, as well as the Bullet Farmer and the People Eater from Gas Town. They're pursued into a canyon, where another violent chase ensues. In all the mayhem, Angharad, the de facto leader of the wives, loses her life. Furiosa and the wives are devastated—as is Nux, who has found his way back onto the War Rig, but knows he has no hope of returning to Immortan Joe.
Once again, Max and company manage to evade capture, and they endure a few other trials as they make their escape, including getting trapped in a quagmire while being pursued by the Bullet Farmer. Eventually, they make their way to an abandoned tower, where they meet the Vuvalini—or the Many Mothers—a small band of women who wander the desert searching for a place they can make plants grow, like the old days. Furiosa, the wives, and Nux all join with the women and decide to make their way across the salt flats, hoping to reach somewhere they can survive. Max decides to go it alone.
The next day, Max chases the women (and Nux) across the salt flats, and when he catches up to them, he convinces them to turn around and head back to the Citadel. After all, Immortan Joe has abandoned it to pursue them, so it's undefended. They can defeat Immortan Joe on the road and take the Citadel—the only green place with water for miles around—for themselves. They all agree.
As they make their way back to the Citadel, they engage in a road battle with Immortan Joe and his men. Many of the Vuvalini lose their lives, and Nux sacrifices himself to save the wives. Though she's mortally wounded in the process, Furiosa finally manages to kill Immortan Joe, earning herself redemption, and freedom for the wives. Max manages to save her, too, when he gives her a blood transfusion on their way back to the Citadel.
When they arrive at the Citadel, Max shows the citizens and the war boys Immortan Joe's corpse. Furiosa and the wives are allowed back into the fold, clearly triumphant and newly empowered by their victory. As for Max, well, after a brief and knowing exchange of nods with Furiosa, he disappears into the crowd.