Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) explains in a voice-over narration that he was once a cop and road warrior and is now trekking through post-apocalyptic Australia, running from haunting thoughts of his dead wife and child and other people he’s failed to save. As he stands on a ridge looking around, a two-headed lizard crawls near Max and he stomps on it before eating it. He drives off and is quickly pursued by a group of scavengers called the War Boys, who are all pale and covered in blisters due to a radiation sickness. They chase Max through the desert and cause him to crash before they capture him.
The War Boys take Max to their lair in the Citadel, a system of caves in a very tall mesa. They shave his head and face. They tattoo his back with a notice saying he is a universal blood donor (Type O negative) because they intend to use him as a blood supply. They cover the lower part of his face with a trident-shaped iron muzzle. Max is nearly branded with an image of a skull engulfed in fire but he breaks free and runs from the War Boys. The chase through the caves shows that the Citadel is extensive and has an ample water supply. As he runs, Max continues to see images of the dead before he makes it to an exit high above the ground. He jumps out and latches onto a swinging hook, but he keeps swinging back toward the War Boys and they manage to pull him back into the tunnel.
In the Citadel, there is a large community of survivors lorded over by the leader of the War Boys, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who also played the villain Toecutter in the original Mad Max film). Joe wears a grotesque face mask made of horse teeth set in a large pair of jaws, with air hoses to help him breathe (his lungs are damaged). As he addresses a crowd on the ground below the Citadel, he supplies the people with some water, making everyone go crazy and fight for it once Joe shuts it off after a few seconds. He warns the people not to become addicted to water so that they do not go mad over its absence. Joe then sends his commander Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) out in a huge war rig to collect gasoline from Gas Town, with an escort of War Boys in smaller vehicles. Furiosa has a metal prosthesis in place of her lower left arm and hand.