Under the pseudonym of Raoul Duke, Thompson travels with his Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in a souped-up convertible dubbed the "Great Red Shark." In its trunk, they stow "two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers.... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls," which they manage to consume during their short tour.
On assignment from a sports magazine to cover "the fabulous Mint 400" - a free-for-all biker's race in the heart of the Nevada desert - the drug-a-delic duo stumbles through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American dream.
For Thompson to remember and pen his experiences with such clarity and wit is nothing short of a miracle. The result: simply the "best book on the dope decade" New York Times Book Review.