Set in 1901, the film follows the progress of Constable Peterson (Matthaei) on his quest to bring an Aboriginal man (Kamahl) to justice under the White Man's law. Having heard of a killing that took place under tribal law, Peterson embarks on a mission to arrest the accused man with the help of Black Tracker Jubbal (Devereaux) and bring him back to Melbourne for trial. It is a journey of discovery for both Peterson and Jubbal. Jubbal finds himself caught between black and white society, eventually dying following a curse placed on him during a traditional bone pointing ceremony. Peterson is left to try take the prisoner back to Melbourne alone, but cannot negotiate the pitfalls of the desert without the help of his prisoner. During the latter stages of his return, Peterson begins to understand the folly of his mission, releasing the Aboriginal man to return to his people. Finally, the metaphorical journey out of darkness is the one made by Peterson.