Residents of a row of terrace houses in Sydney, Australia, form an Action Group to fight a development company who want to buy the houses and replace them with high-rise blocks.
The leader dies under suspicious circumstances, and his daughter takes up the cause.
The film is based quite openly on the notorious facts of the Juanita Nielsen case, recalling the Sydney woman who disappeared in 1975 at the height of her involvement in the struggles of King’s Cross residents and their supporters against a large development project.
Liz Alexander plays Jessica Simmonds, a Juanita-style character. Jeff Elliot (John Hargreaves) is just as obviously based on Jack Mundey, although in the film the character is bumped off by the developers’ underworld allies rather than being expelled from the union.
Jessica, a rather unworldly scientist, has returned from overseas to find her father, retired professor B.C. Simmonds (Alexander Archdale) and the harbourside terrace house where she grew up at the centre of resistance to the development scheme.
The old man is clearly having the time of his life (“Why should the young have all the good causes?”), encouraging his working-class neighbours to hang on to their homes.
Then B.C. dies in a mysterious fire that almost certainly wasn’t an accident and Jessica becomes his surrogate. In the process, she is brutally introduced to links between organised crime, the police, the developers and highly-placed state government officials.
Jessica is wheedled, threatened, conned and finally abducted by the underworld heavies, employees of a casino operator busily ploughing his illegal profits into more conventionally legitimate enterprises like the Angel Street development.
They all but hurl her from a highrise building, have her jailed on trumped-up charges, body searched by butch policewomen and murder the communist lover she has just dismissed with a flurry of undialectical sensitivity.
But having been drawn into the battle of Angel Street without really understanding what is at stake, Jessica becomes committed to it body and soul.