USGS scientist Harry Dalton is sent to the small town of Dante’s Peak to check on unusual activity. Spurred by the volcano related death of a previous lover, Dalton urges Mayor Rachel Wando to put the city on alert. Dalton’s boss, Paul Dreyfus arrives and countermands Dalton demanding scientific proof. When the proof finally arrives, Harry and Rachel must go to the volcano to rescue her two children and ex-mother-in-law. Tension builds as they try to reach safety while the town below is destroyed.