Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant, was guilty of unwittingly spreading typhoid fever. She was also a victim of a system that trampled the rights of the individual and was incarcerated against her will. Since no one at the time knew someone without symptoms could spread typhoid, she could not believe that she had done so. In a time when xenophobia was at its zenith, there were few who would come to her aid. Her ever increasing plies of innocence and defiance were seen as just the usual disposition of the fiery Irish woman – virago. This NOVA documentary reenacts scenes from Mary's life while giving the viewer background information about the conditions and prejudices of the time. Interesting note: Mallon is depicted as a redhead but she had brown hair.