The Hawaii of 1930 was a colonial paradise of soft winds and smooth seas that lured the white man. The availability of cheap labour was also encouraging. Five families now control the wealth of the islands, the U.S. Navy patrols the Pacific from Pearl Harbour. The last Hawaiian family princess, Luahine, lives in exile on a distant island, stripped of her powers. Then the facade of genteel civilisation is shattered when Hester Murdoch, the young society wife of a Navy lieutenant, is found battered and bleeding on a lonely road. She unjustly accuses four local boys of rape and assault. The boys are brought to trial amidst unprecedented media attention, their only defence a scared young local lawyer. The verdict sets in motion a whirlwind of emotions, violence and passion.