In the 1830s, the penal settlement of Moreton Bay on the Brisbane River is under the command of Patrick Logan. His administration has been denounced by the liberal press of Sydney, but he scorns such criticism.

How can it harm him when he had governed according to the rules? Flogged and brutalised, some convicts escape to the bush and take refuge with the Aborigines. Logan cannot continue to ignore the reaction to his harsh discipline after the arrival of his wife's younger sister, Frances.

She cannot accept the brutality of chained and toiling men, punishment parades and the lash, and it is she who precipitates the crisis from which the final drama springs.

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