The year is 1916. War rages in Europe while Patrick Kelly, a young patrolman in the Jersey City Police Department, has battles of his own to fight. He dreams of heroic exploits, little knowing how the old grudge between his father and Frank Hague, Patrick’s boss, will ruin his plans, or how his love for Claire Connolly, a beautiful chorus girl, will change his life. Least of all does he see the spectre of Black Tom. Despite America's neutrality in the war, U.S. manufacturers are engaged in making and selling to the Allies an enormous amount of arms of all kinds. Before these weapons are loaded onto ships and sent across the Atlantic, they are stored at Black Tom Island in Jersey City, a munitions depot projecting into New York Harbor just behind the Statue of Liberty. On July 30, 1916, a massive explosion shakes the harbor, a blast so tremendous it’s felt in Philadelphia and Baltimore. German agents have sabotaged the munitions depot, with its huge store of shrapnel shells, rifle cartridges, gunpowder and other ammunition and explosives, turning it into an inferno. The cataclysm rocks Jersey City, Manhattan, and Brooklyn to the core, terrifying residents, causing staggering destruction, and resulting in death and injury. Down at Black Tom, Patrick’s opportunity for heroism has arrived, but at what terrible cost?