Travis Bickle, a 26-year-old honorably discharged U.S. Marine, is a lonely, depressed young man living on his own in New York City. He becomes a taxi driver to cope with his chronic insomnia, driving passengers every night around the city's boroughs. He also spends time in porn theaters and keeps a diary. Travis becomes infatuated with Betsy, a campaign volunteer for Senator and presidential candidate Charles Palantine. After watching her interact with fellow worker Tom through her window, Travis enters to volunteer, as a pretext to talk to her, and takes her out for coffee. On a later date, he takes her to see a pornographic film, which offends her, and she goes home alone. His attempts at reconciliation by sending flowers are rebuffed, so he berates her at the campaign office, before being kicked out by Tom.