Nearly all the children of a small, British Columbian town have been killed or injured in a school bus accident. The question is: who is at fault? Did the bus driver cause the accident by speeding or was the bus manufactured improperly, thus giving liability to the bus company? A slick city lawyer pins his bets on the fault of the bus company and all he needs is one of the sole survivors, fourteen year old Nicole, to back him up by testifying for his class action lawsuit. But will she give the testimony he wants to hear? The Sweet Hereafter, based on the book by Russell Banks, is a movie about ethics, love, grief and secrets.