Harry (Pierce Brosnan) is a volcanologist and travels to Dante's Peak in the Pacific Northwest to investigate some slight rumblings of a once thought extinct volcano. He meets divorcee, Rachel (Linda Hamilton), the mayor of Dante's Peak. Harry finds definite signs that the volcano will explode and puts the Mayor and city leaders on alert; however, his boss and the rest of the team arrives who disagree with his findings. Later that evening, Harry finds definitive evidence and alerts his team and the Mayor. The next day during a town meeting where they decide to evacuate, the volcano explodes. Rachel has a stubborn mother-in-law who doesn't want to leave her home near the lake up the mountain, so unknowingly to Rachel, Rachel's two kids drive up the mountain to get her (the kids are probably around 12 and 14). The remainder of the movie is dedicated to Harry, Rachel, the 2 kids and the mother-in-law trying to get to safety. The mother-in-law dies along the way. Harry, Rachel, the 2 kids, and the dog escape the volcanic explosion by slamming into an abandoned mine. They are found by rescuers and fly off together in a helicopter planning a vacation deep sea fishing.