The lives of
Dashiell Hammett (Shepard) and
Lillian Hellman (Davis) are set against the golden era of
Hollywood, HUAC and the issue of
McCarthyism of the 1950s. This intimate look at the lives of two of this century's literary titans follows their tumultuous affair, drinking bouts, career highs and lows, and activities in support of left-wing causes including Hammett's public avowal of Communism and his membership in the Communist party and Hellman's sympathies for the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union before World War II.