Police Sgt. Howie, of the Scottish mainland, receives an anonymous letter from the offshore community of Summerisle, asking him to investigate the disappearance of a young girl there. He travels to the remote isle and discovers a secretive, tightly knit neo-pagan society. Being a devout (and rather self-righteous) Christian, he is shocked by the islanders' open sexuality and ritualistic devotion to the "old gods." As the mystery of the missing girl unravels, he begins to suspect that she is a victim of human sacrifice. In the film's chilling final sequence, the truth is revealed when Sgt. Howie meets the "wicker man."