At the end of World War Two, Jimmy Picard, a Blackfoot Indian who fought in France, becomes a patient at the psychiatric military hospital in Topeka, Kansas, where ex-soldiers are treated. Jimmy suffers from violent headaches and sometimes he can no longer even see or hear anything. But his doctors have failed to find the cause of his illness and, as a last resort, they decide to ask Georges Deveraux - a French anthropologist and psychoanalyst who specializes in Native American cultures - for help.
Right from their first encounter, a relationship of trust and mutual respect develops between the two men. During the sessions, Jimmy P. opens up more and more, recounting his dreams and recalling deeply buried memories. Although a shy man and unfamiliar with psychoanalytical methods, Jimmy goes along with proceedings, thereby allowing Devereux to lead him toward a cure.