David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman), a mild-mannered academic from the United States, marries Amy (Susan George), an Englishwoman. In order to escape a hectic stateside lifestyle, David and his wife relocate to the small town in rural Cornwall where Amy was raised. There, David is ostracized by the brutish men of the village, including Amy's old flame, Charlie (Del Henney). Eventually the taunts escalate, and two of the locals rape Amy. This sexual assault awakes a shockingly violent side of David.