Hans Olofson is the son of a Swedish lumberjack. His early life is isolated and difficult, overshadowed by the disappearance of his mother. When he loses both his best friend and girlfriend in tragic circumstances, his only remaining desire is to fulfil her dream of visiting the grave of a legendary missionary, deep in the remote hills of Northern Zambia.
On reaching Africa, Hans is struck by its beauty and mystery. After fulfilling his initial quest, an opportunity of employment in the region tempts him to stay, and before long he takes sole responsibility for the farm he manages.
Despite his early optimism, he is shocked by the attitude of the local white population to their adopted country, as well as their pitiful vulnerability to alcohol and malaria. As relationships splinter and fray, Hans is soon to discover that his African dream is rapidly turning to a nightmare.