Hawaii, 1872. In this compelling historical drama, the British and American's compete for influence and power in the Pacific island of Hawaii. Off the coast of Hawaii is Molokai, a small island, where lepers are abandoned in exile. It is a society based on the survival of the fittest. Molokai is out-of-control with food scarce or non-existent and children being led into prostitution and slavery. The responsibility for the leper's welfare rests with Molokai's chief-administrator (Kristofferson) and Hawaii's Prime-Minister (Neill), Bishop (McKern) and chief priest (Jacobi) who realise action is required before the Molokai scandal weakens Hawaii's power with America and England. Father Damien (Wenham) volunteers to become the first priest to visit the island. His encounter with a nurse (O'Toole), who has himself contracted the disease, fires Damien with a zeal that tests the patience of his superiors in Hawaii. This is the true story of how Father Damien shames the cynical establishment into action and brings compassion and dignity to Molokai, against all the odds.