On a black January night, Nancy Cruzan's 20-year-old Rambler flies off the road and travels the length of two football fields before flipping to a stop. Nancy is thrown out facedown on the cold ground, apparently dead. But not quite. Five years later, Nancy has not emerged from her coma, and her family makes the grim request that the state hospital remove Nancy's feeding tube, which the family authorized years before when hope remained. But the state refuses, and the battle begins. Before the battle is over, powerful forces in society will team up to oppose the family -- including, Missouri Governor John Ashcroft, United States Solicitor General Ken Starr, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Near the end, protestors from around the country converge on Missouri and attempt to storm the hospital. Their fight reaches its climax and resolution shortly after midnight on a bitterly cold Christmas Day. This blue-collar family keeps one goal from beginning to end -- trying to do what they know in their hearts their loved one would want them to do. In the process, they help to raise the consciousness of a nation and free countless Americans of some of the fears attending death, according to the New York Times.