Deep in a forest near the coast of Washington State lies a grotesque Gothic mansion used as a special psychiatric hospital for the military. Those who know of its existence and the nature of project Freud refer to it as 'Center Eighteen'. Confined to the centre are high-ranking military officers undergoing treatment for mental breakdowns, which are unaccountable by their services experiences. Determined to establish the true nature and origin of the men's mental illness, the Pentagon enlist Colonel Hudson Kane (Stacey Keach), a brilliant, yet strangely unorthodox psychiatrist. Typical of the patients is Captain Cutshaw (Scott Wilson), an astronaut who aborted a space probe. He is convinced that God is a fraud. His fellow inmates are similarly consumed with inner torments - they fear the evil within themselves and are afraid that, with a Godless universe, man leads a purposeless existence. Slowly through the love he possesses for his fellow man, Colonel Kane is able to break down the lunatic facade of the inmates and of Captain Cutshaw in particular. But as he leads the way back to a world of reality the dividing line between sanity and madness assumes an increasingly vague definition, so much so that Kane's colleagues pose with real urgency the question of who is therapist to whom.