In 1940s Sierra Leone, expatriate Harry Scobie (Trevor Howard), a Catholic police officer, is trapped in a loveless marriage. While his unhappy wife is out of town, Harry quickly falls in love with Helen (Maria Schell), a war widow. As his Catholicism threatens to keep him bound to his wife and apart from the woman he loves, Harry is consumed with guilt and becomes desperate for a solution to his dilemma. Harry's religion haunts him throughout this story of forbidden love and inner turmoil.
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