This is a historical melodrama set against the backdrop of Easter Island's mysterious stone monoliths, directed by Kevin Reynolds and produced by his frequent collaborator, Kevin Costner. Jason Scott Lee stars as Noro, a pre-colonial tribesman living on the remote Pacific island that his people call Rapa Nui. A member of the elite "Long Ears" sect, Noro is to represent his clan in an annual ritual, a dangerous race along rocky cliffs and through shark-infested waters to retrieve the first egg from a sacred bird hatchery that lies offshore. Noro, however, is in love with Ramana (Sandrine Holt), a member of the "Short Ears," a slave class that builds the "Moai," which are giant stone carvings dotting the island. The tribal shaman rules that Noro and Ramana may marry if she spends six months in an isolated cave and he wins the contest. Make (Esai Morales), another Short Ear, is a rival for Ramana and leader of unrest in his exploited caste. Make trains to represent the Short Ears against Noro in the race, but judgment in the contest's result is interrupted by the sudden appearance of an iceberg. Interpreted as an omen, the "white canoe of the gods" leads to a civil war.