After his revisionist western Shoshone Mike (1987), Bergon turns from Indians to monks for an atomic-age saga in which the struggle for spiritual perfection is complicated by a Department of Energy land-grab, as that government agency designates a Nevada mountain the nation's nuclear waste dump. St. Ed has been laboring in the desert at his Hermitage of Solitude for 15 years, having managed during that time to attract only two kindred spirits with the intestinal fortitude to endure the regimen--one of whom died. A desire to spread the word of his mission takes him to a Las Vegas TV talk show; but while he's away, the tranquility of faithful Brother S is shattered when a stranded woman visits the hermitage. Amy leaves, only to return when her boyfriend beats her; and when St. Ed--faced with the prospect of imminent eviction by the combined forces of his bishop and the government--decides to embark on a major recruiting drive, he takes her as a disciple too. The brief harmony of six seekers of solitude, however, fails to surmount real-world pressures; Brother S is convinced that St. Ed wants more than a spiritual communion with Amy, and when she is shot by a loco loner--while skinny- dipping with her superior in a hot spring--the scandal sends Brother S packing. With his departure, the community falls apart, since he had the practical know-how to keep it running. He returns, but by then the Hermitage has been reduced to rubble by road crews for the radwaste dump, and a fleeting reunion with the loner only leads to the man's being shot down in cold blood. Enraged, Brother S mounts a one-man assault on the dump.... A potentially riveting story, but ultimately too fragmented and underdeveloped to keep pace with its promise.