Set in a small coastal town against the turmoils of murder, mystery and romance, Heartland deals with the death of an Aboriginal girl and the doubts concerning the guilt of her boyfriend, who is arrested for her murder. Vincent Burunga, an Aboriginal police liaison officer working in the town, is an outsider to both the local Aboriginal people and the white justice system, and he finds himself constantly on the edge caught between two cultures trying to understand each other. It explores the developing relationship between Vincent and the newly arrived Elizabeth Ashton. Both are convinced of the young man's innocence but must endure hostility from both the white and black communities and get past the obstacles of their different backgrounds.
The narrative also follows the people from this seaside community and their battle to restructure their own way of life and their struggle to restore their belief in a positive future, despite the obstacles in their path.