Robert Morgen, a successful New York physician, searches for a less stressful lifestyle and moves to Vermont with his wife and son. But the rural lifestyle becomes the catalyst for the dissolution of his marriage. Discontented with the practice of medicine and saddened by the loss of his son to his wife's custody, Robert volunteers to work as a physician in the border town of Peshawar, Pakistan, during the Russian-Afghan war in 1986. While training refugee Afghan physicians and working in Afghan refugee camps, he develops a deep respect for the tenacious courage of the Afghan people. His dedication to the Afghan cause leads him to cross into Afghanistan with a French physician and nurse and a group of Afghan warriors. They are ambushed by Russian troops on a mountain pass and Robert and the nurse, Simone, are the only survivors. Their endurance tested to the maximum and often in danger in Afghanistan's deadly wartime environment, Robert and Simone struggle to make their way back across the border. In the journey through the unknown, Robert's life is irrevocably changed.