The mass immigration to the United States, bringing two million Irish across the ocean in five years, resulted from harsh conditions under British rule. In the 1840's, the famine, caused by a four-year failure of the potato crop, worsened the conditions that were already intolerable. (During the famine, Ireland's agricultural bounty produced enough to feed the population four times over.) This documentary focuses on these reasons for immigration and the Irish participation in the Civil War and Gold Rush. Several brief biographies of famous Irish-Americans are interspersed within general commentary on the times, conditions, stereotypes, and prejudices the Irish met upon coming to America.