The year is 1990, and for twenty-something Tom O'Connor, life is good. Descended from a family of Queensland pioneers, he runs a newspaper at Airlie Beach. Success and women come his way easily. But that is soon to change. An 1860s incident, in which an Aboriginal woman was killed, has surfaced to haunt the O'Connor family. Tom's ancestor should have been investigated over her death but his case was overturned by his magistrate brother. This dubious act invoked the O'Connor Protocol - a family tradition that obliges an O'Connor to protect his brother. A friend of the O'Connors was blamed for the 1860s crime.
Generations later, his descendant, land-developer Todd Steele, who also lives in Airlie Beach, intends squaring the account. Tom O'Connor is suspicious of Todd's activities, especially when drugs are thought to be transferred through the Whitsundays.
Adding to the chaos, an Aboriginal tribe inexplicably registers a sacred site on the O'Connor farm. Billy - Tom's Aboriginal colleague at the newspaper - has his own story to tell about drugs and tribal injustice.
Drawing on their limited resources, and with the support of journalist Pixie, the trio grapple with the threat to their paradise. They uncover more than they bargained for. Will the O'Connor family have to invoke the O'Connor Protocol again?