On May 12, 1984, two beings from the year 2029 arrive in Los Angeles: one is a Terminator T-800 Model 101, a cyborg assassin programmed to kill a young woman named Sarah Connor; the other is Kyle Reese, a soldier sent to protect her from the T-800. After the Terminator kills a gang member, a gun-shop manager, two other women named “Sarah Connor” listed in the telephone directory, Sarah’s roommate Ginger, and her partner, it tracks its target to a nightclub. Kyle arrives and saves Sarah from the Terminator. The two steal a car and escape, while the Terminator steals a police car and pursues them.
Kyle explains to Sarah that in the near future, an artificial intelligence defense network known as Skynet will become self-aware and initiate a nuclear holocaust. He mentions that Sarah’s yet-to-be-conceived son John will rally the survivors and lead a resistance movement against Skynet and its army of machines. With the Resistance on the verge of victory, Skynet has sent a Terminator back in time to kill Sarah before John is born, as a last-ditch effort to avert the formation of the Resistance. The Terminator is an efficient killing machine with a powerful metal endoskeleton, but with an external layer of living tissue that makes it appear as a human being.