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Crime and injustice walk hand-in-hand in director Warwick Thompson's unflinching western drama co-written by Steven McGregor and David Tranter, which is set in the 1920s against the stark backdrop of Australia's Northern Territory. The spectre of the First World War casts a long shadow over many white landowners, who are haunted by their ordeals on the battlefield. They nurture the land with the help of Aboriginal farmhands, who are frequently treated as slaves. Fred Smith (Sam Neill) is one of the few landowners to treat his workforce with respect and compassion, and he foolishly allows a neighbour, Harry March (Ewen Leslie), to borrow one of his men, Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris), as well as Sam's wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey Furber). March's disgusting, drunken behaviour sparks shocking violence in self-defence and Sam goes on the run in the sweltering dry heat of the outback. Police sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown) assembles a posse of enraged white men to hunt down and capture Sam, then dole out fitting punishment for his transgression.