In the cold-war era of post-WW2 Britain, the government decides to establish a guided missile base on the Hebridean isle of Todday. The inhabitants are not happy with this disruption of their way of life, and hamper construction as much as they can. An RAF officer, sent to negotiate with the people, falls in love with a local girl and realises what the base would mean to the islanders. When a missile is finally launched, the guidance system fails and the missile returns to the land, rather than out at sea. As it is technically on privately owned land, the islanders claim it and celebrate their 'victory' by dancing around the site. The RAF tries unsuccessfully to negotiate, but eventually abandons the base. But some islanders wished the base to remain, with the attendant economic benefits. Inspired and led by Father James (Noel Purcell), they 'discover' a rare seagull than only nests on Todday, in the hope that tourists will come.