In the 1990s, a South American city is rocked by the imminent outbreak of a plague. While many attempt to flee the city, Dr Bernard Rieux sends his sick wife away and does his best to care for the plague's victims. The plague means different things to different people: to the doctor, it's a disease to be cured. To a pair of French journalists, it's a breaking news story. To religious leaders, it's punishment for sins. As the sense of isolation and hopelessness grow, Dr Rieux and his associates begin to question their previously-accepted feelings of justice, loneliness, and love.