In the early 1950's. Mark. an idealistic former army doctor. comes to a small village in the rugged mountains of Algeria. at the request of his former comrade-in-arms. Hamrane. the town's school-teacher.
He plunges passionately into his work of ministering to the sick and injured. totally evolving himself in this proud people who adopt him as a brother. He also becomes friends with a French couple. both doctors like himself. who live in the city. and who take Hamrane's daughter Malika under their wing so that she can study to become a nurse. Soon Mark and Malika fall in love.
But at the outbreak of the violence which heralds the beginning of the Algerian War of Independence. Malika will be torn by her love for Mark and her desire for western-style emancipation. and her new found pride in the traditions of her country.
Despite his fervent desire to remain neutral. the forces of destiny will soon impel Mark. like Malika. to choose sides.