New York, 1901. Immigrants lap at America's shore as relentlessly as the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Ellis Island Superintendent Joseph Hannegan stands alone trying to protect the interests of the immigrants and his country against the rampant corruption overtaking the station. Hannegan believes he may have enough evidence to rout a crooked commissioner. But when young Maggie Flynn steps off the ferry and shoots her fianće, his mission is derailed.