Sam Harper, a rural Oklahoma preacher and leader of a fanatic militia group, conspires to hold the attorney general of the United States, Ronald Montgomery, hostage with a radio-controlled nitrate-and-fuel-oil bomb. Montgomery, who is Harper’s avowed enemy, is speaking at a Tulsa hotel, and just before Harper reveals his plan, Montgomery suffers a massive heart attack and is rushed to a nearby hospital intensive care unit.

          Harper decides to plant the bomb in the stairwell close to Montgomery's room, but when a security guard interrupts Harper and his militia members, Harper seizes the intensive care unit. Dr. Paula Barrett is the only doctor among the hostages, held along with hospital staff and eight seriously ill patients, including Montgomery. After one of Harper’s men murders a nurse simply to exert his control, Paula turns her grief into resolve. Can Paula help devise a plan to save the lives of the patients and staff? Or will Harper detonate the bomb and destroy everyone first?