Peter Maguire, a lawyer from Toronto who is representing a group of Aboriginal Canadians over a land dispute with a logging company arrives to the scene of the logging on a float plane. He lands just as a large violent protest is ongoing between law enforcement and protesters, who are attempting to stop logging equipment from beginning their deforestation work. Peter informs the band council leader, Wilf, that he intends to file an appeal immediately, and leaves to go do so. Peter then comes face to face with Bud Rickets, the manager of the mill and logging company, who he asks to suspend logging operations until he can file his appeal. Rickets refuses Peter's request.
The next day Peter goes to meet with Wilf, who invites him to take part in a spiritual sweat lodge ceremony. Peter agrees, and during the ceremony experiences a hallucination where he foresees the damage done to the land by the clear cutting operations. As blood pours from the ravaged earth, Peter screams and the ceremony ends.
Peter is then introduced to Arthur, an indigenous man, who he jokes with saying that they should kidnap and skin Bud Rickets alive for his part in the logging. Later that night, Arthur comes to Peter's hotel room, saying that they should go and do exactly as they had said earlier and kidnap Rickets. Peter follows Arthur, not quite sure whether he is serious or not. As they pull up to a gas station where Rickets is filling up his car, Arthur threatens Peter, and then crashes his truck into Ricket's car and kidnaps him.
Arthur then restrains Peter and Rickets and brings them back to Wilf, who says that someone must pay for what is happening to the land. Arthur then brings the two men into the woods. The next day, Peter wakes up to the sound of Rickets' screams, as Arthur is skinning one of his legs, saying that this is how the trees feel when his company does the same to them. Peter pleads with Arthur to stop torturing Rickets and to let them go. Arthur then runs off, and Peter follows him, finding Wilf sitting at a fire, and seeing two police officers coming to get them. As the officers grab Peter, Arthur shoots one in the head, and attacks the other with a club. Wilf responds to this by saying someone had to pay.
Arthur then takes Peter and Rickets to another island, where he constructs a makeshift sweat lodge. Arthur, Peter, and Rickets then all take part in the ceremony. Arthur chants and cuts off one of his fingers. Afterwards, Arthur takes Rickets to the top of a cliff overlooking the forest. Peter grabs Rickets and attempts to escape, hitting Arthur with a piece of wood. The two men fight until Peter grabs Arthur's gun and attempts to shoot him, but the gun is out of bullets. Arthur then walks into the water and sinks under the surface until he disappears. Peter and Rickets return back to the town with Wilf where they are apprehended by the police, who ask where Arthur is. Peter responds saying that he drowned, but he could be back.