- "Fact 1: we've got a plane up there filled with killers, rapists, and thieves and we've got this guy Cameron Poe: in on an involuntary manslaughter beef, non-gang affiliated. He's a parolee hitching a ride home. Fact 2: Poe has a chance to get off the plane, doesn't do it. Why? Fact 3: our guard Falzon said a convict named Cameron Poe planted Sims's tape recorder on him. These are interesting facts. You do the math on this... and we got an ally on that plane."
- ―Vince Larkin on Poe.
He was portrayed by John Cusack.
Cameron Poe is paroled from prison and set to be flown back home to Alabama, on a C-123 known as Jailbird, where he will be released on landing. DEA agent Duncan Malloy wishes to have aboard one of his agents, Willie Sims, disguised as a prisoner to coax more information out of drug lord Francisco Cindino before he is incarcerated. Larkin, the U.S. Marshal overseeing the transfer, agrees to it, but is unaware that Malloy has armed Sims with a gun.
Shortly after takeoff, Cyrus incites a riot that allows them to hijack the Jailbird; Sims is killed when he attempts to stop him. Cyrus orders the aircraft to continue to Carson City for a scheduled prisoner transfer, where they will offload the guards and pilots disguised as prisoners in the middle of a dust-storm. Although he could have left the Jailbird during the transfer, Poe decides to stay in order to protect "Baby-O," who is starting to become seriously ill from his untreated diabetes. Poe feigns cooperation with Cyrus but leaves a recording device from Sims' body on one of the guards being offloaded.
Cyrus orders another prisoner, Joe "Pinball" Parker, to remove the transponder and plant it on another aircraft. Moments before the Jailbird takes off, the guards discover the clue Poe left behind and alert Malloy and Larkin. "Pinball" is unable to make it aboard the Jailbird on time when the security forces are alerted and his body is lodged in the landing gear as the aircraft takes off. Poe secretly writes a message to Larkin explaining Cyrus's plan on Pinball's shirt and pushes the body out, where it lands in the middle of Fresno, California. Larkin calls for the National Guard to go to Lerner Airfield, an abandoned airbase, while using Malloy's sports car to beat the Jailbird there. Poe kills fellow convict Billy Bedlam, who had found Poe's parole letter, which indicated he was a free man and therefore a traitor in their midst.
The Jailbird lands at Lerner but overshoots the runway and grounds itself in the sand, near a large tank of propane. Seeing no evidence of Cindino's jet, Cyrus orders the prisoners to dig the Jailbird free. Meanwhile, Poe, seeking an insulin shot for "Baby-O," meets Larkin, and the two run down their respective situations and Greene wanders off and finds a small girl that he talks with. Larkin finds Cindino boarding his private jet with his men, and manages to disable the jet before it leaves. Grissom discovers Cindino's treachery and kills him. Another inmate, serial rapist "Johnny 23," sees the Guard forces approaching the airfield and alerts the prisoners, who open the weapons locker on the Jailbird and set up an ambush. Larkin successfully leads the Guardsmen out of the danger, and Cyrus and the remaining prisoners, including Greene (now carrying the girl's doll) return to the Jailbird and take off before Poe is able to escape with "Baby-O" and female guard Sally Bishop.
Cyrus soon discovers Poe's true identity and prepares to kill him after shooting "Baby-O" in the stomach. Malloy, having tracked down the Jailbird after being led astray by the transponder, opens fire on it, disabling an engine, and causing the aircraft to lose fuel. When Larkin tells Malloy about Poe's identity as a parolee, Malloy orders the gunner to hold fire. They both order the Jailbird to land at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas but a lack of fuel forces them to crash-land on The Strip instead, destroying landmarks and ripping the plane apart, the fuselage ending up at the lobby of the Sands Hotel. Amidst the chaos, Poe is thanked by both "Baby-O" and Sally for his help. Cyrus, "Diamond Dog," and Swamp Thing escape on a fire truck. Larkin and Poe spot them and give chase, eventually killing all three escapees; Jones being hit by a motorbike, Swamp Thing hurtling through the windshield and being run over, and Cyrus crushed by a pounder in a construction site. Poe finally reunites with Tricia and meets his daughter after he expresses his full trust to Larkin. Larkin also tells his boss that he hopes his car was insured and hands him the keys.
|Con Air Characters|
|Heroes||Cameron Poe - Vince Larkin|
|Villains||Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom - Nathan "Diamond Dog" Jones - Francisco Cindino|
|Allies||Mike "Baby-O" O'Dell - Sally Bishop - Duncan Malloy|
|Henchmen||William "Billy Bedlam" Bedford - Johnny "Johnny-23" Baca - Swamp Thing - Pinball|
|Other characters||Garland Greene - Tricia Poe - Casey Poe|