In 1969, Hunter Adams was a troubled man who voluntarily committed himself into a mental institution.
Once there, he finds that helping his fellow inmates there gives him a purpose in life. Thus inspired, he leaves the
asylum and vows to become a doctor to help people professionally. However, what he finds at medical school is a sickeningly
callous philosophy that advocates an arms-length attitude to the patients that does not address their emotional needs or the quality
of their lives. "Patch" Adams is determined to find a better way to help them, although the consequences of his defiance of the
rules and the authorities are severe.