The citizens of Monomoy, a town of 2000 or so, are left isolated at the tip of Cape Cod by snow, wind and rising water during a freak winter storm. Masters activates his large cast for a sure-fire story that holds no surprises as far as character motivation is concerned. There are the people you have met before in such crisis/survival stories as The High and the Mighty -- whose facades shatter with the regularity of a series of cold jars dropped into hot water. Their short stories are spun out, cut and spliced together, in a way that Hollywood finds most convenient. Before the storm arrives, the townspeople are introduced through the issues that divide them. The chief concern is whether or not dune property is to be declared a national park and bird sanctuary, or whether it will be opened up for a housing developer. This serves to split the interested parties into recognizable groups -- old families vs. newcomers; money grubbers vs. do-gooders; and just plain birds. It also provides a glimpse into private affairs and semi-public scandals. When the storm hits, these are all merged in the communal living arrangements at the town's hotel. There are sea rescue scenes by the Coast Guard that hold visual excitement while the hotel life is more for peepers. A modern town out off from the world and dropping back to the do-it-yourself-or-die era generating a degree of read-on interest.