There are two lead characters in this story: Winston Beaumont and Claire Redding. Winston's a second year resident in internal medicine (adult medicine), at Mid-City Hospital; having graduated from medical school two years earlier. Claire Redding's the librarian at this hospital. And Winston and Claire are engaged. In the movie, we meet Winston first. And soon after we meet him, he begins to encounter several patients who are faring quite poorly. From the perspective of conventional medicine, each of them had been cured of a major disease several years earlier. (Cured meaning that their individual pathology the body tissues that were functioning abnormally, that were considered to be the root of their disease, was successfully removed). Yet, in the time period since their respective cures, each person has felt progressively worse (become more and more limited in many ways). Winston does an extensive investigation into each of these three people's health; but, he can't find pathology in any of them. Certainly nothing that would explain the continuing degeneration.

He's quite disturbed, especially because of his reason for becoming a physician. He had an original career in finance, but found that type of work to be less and less fulfilling over time. He then vigorously searched for a field of work that would be fulfilling. And after about a year of investigating, he realized, one day, that he was strongly drawn to becoming a physician. He returned to college, took the courses that were required for entrance into medical school, attended medical school, graduated, and selected adult medicine as his area of speciality.

So, here Winston is, just about eighteen months away from being a fully qualified internist. And, yet, it's becoming progressively obvious, that what he's being taught doesn't curesick people: doesn't move them from being ill to permanent wellbeing. Being a curious person, he commences to explore: he closely examines each ill person he meets; has conversations about treatment results with his fellow residents, and attendings (physicians who teach at the medical school); and reads extensively. But the more he investigates, the more an awareness unfolds: the tools he's being taught don't restore ill people to wellbeing. What is he going to do? There appears to be no viable solution. So, he becomes more and more depressed.

As Winston's pessimism is growing, Claire is becoming increasingly concerned. Since she met Winston, she has experienced him having low periods, but only for a few days at a time. And this current pessimism looks as if it may be permanent. She begins to wonder if Winston is the man she should marry. Then, when Winston tells her one day, that he has become so frustrated he may totally leave the field of medicine, she blows up. But, within a few minutes, she realizes she has to talk to someone. So, she calls a long time friend, Eileen, and arranges to meet. During that meeting, Eileen presents several insightful observations, which lead to Claire having a major new awareness about successful relationships. And Claire's attitude promptly becomes positive once again. As she returns to the hospital, she decides she'll do whatever she can, to assist Winston in resolving his dilemma.

A few days latter, while Claire is culling the library stacks, she finds a book entitled Bechamp or Pasteur. And, with just a cursory glance at its contents, senses that Winston may benefit from reading the book. She finds him, gives him the book, and he takes it home with him.

He is quite taken by the book; because it reveals many new perspectives, that shed light on his current situation. The most informative aspect of the book is what it presents about Louis Pasteur, the father of the germ theory of illness; which is, that he invented the germ theory: made it up, out of thin air, without a shred of substantiating evidence. Given the information that fills the book, Winston begins to consider that bacteria may not be the cause of fever illnesses. And, in addition, he begins to wonder what other medical theories may be specious. As soon as he returns to work, he becomes fully engaged in researching this mystery: he talks to his fellow residents, and his attendings; he surfs the internet; goes to libraries; and so forth. The more he probes, the more convinced he becomes of the following premise: conventional medicine's theories are based on pure conjecture; and its actual treatment results are abysmal.

While Winston is traveling along his journey of discovery, Claire goes to a family reunion. But, while there, regardless of how hard she tries, she fails to have any in-depth conversations: all her relatives, of all ages, want to stick to superficial topics. Regardless of what tact she takes, she can't get any of them to open up. This bothers her. She had, recently, experienced a whole new level of quality relating, and she wants to share her positive experiences with her family members; but no one is interested. And even when she attempts to get them to talk about their lives, no success there either. On the way back to her home city, she begins to wonder, "Should she continue to get together with people who persist in being superficial; even if those people are family members?" As soon as she sees Winston, she tells him of her dilemma. But, he is incapable of understanding, what is so bothersome about her experience. So, it's back to another conversation with Eileen.

But, surprize, surprize! This time Eileen's not sympathetic. Eileen considers Claire's proposal, that it is reasonable to stop socializing with family members who persist in being superficial, to be a terrible idea. Even so, as the conversation takes its course, Claire receives several new insights. And by the time she is on her way home, the upset has been resolved.

While Claire's visiting with Eileen, Winston is called into Dr. Hollings' office: the chief of medicine (the person who is the head of the internal medicine residency program). There, Winston's introduced to a medical school classmate of Dr. Hollings: a Dr. Ross, who is the head of the cardiology section, at the Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood at NIH (the National Institute of Health), in Washington D.C.. Dr. Ross has a problem back at his work, which he referred to in his conversation with Dr. Hollings; and Dr. Hollings thought Winston may help revolve that problem. Once Winston arrives, Dr. Ross's problem is briefly discussed. But soon, the discussion begins to focus on the problems Winston has struggled with for the previous five months. At first, Dr. Ross and Dr. Hollings are sympathetic to Winston's frustrations. However, before long, the early pleasantries turn into a heated exchange.

Immediately after that meeting, Winston goes to visit Claire in her apartment, reaching there just after she has returned from seeing Eileen. And they both tell each other about that day's events. In this conversation, Winston finally becomes clear why Claire has a strong desire for quality social relationships: he realizes that such relationships are as significant to her, as is his need to have fulfilling work. By the end of this conversation, Winston and Claire have made a decision that significantly changes their current lifestyles.

Subsequent to this scene with Winston and Claire, there are a few more scenes to finish up minor aspects of the story. And then, the movie ends.

Prologue: Prior to the modern times portion of the movie, there are several scenes which take place in the mid 1800's. These scenes are included in the movie, in order to introduce how modern medicine developed.

  • We meet Charles Darwin (the father of the theory of evolution).
  • We meet Gregor Mendel (the father of the genetics theory).
  • We meet Louis Pasteur (the father of the germ theory of illness, and rabies treatment, etc.).
  • We meet Antoine Bechamp (a French scientist who was a contemporary of Pasteur).