The story begins in November of 1957. The chief photographer for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Warren Roll, climbed into the passenger seat of a small plane in Kauai. The pilot took off, heading towards a 73-square-mile privately-owned Hawaiian island of Niihau.
The plane landed roughly, smashing its landing gear and splintering its propeller. Roll, carrying his camera gear, left the pilot and set off across the island in search of the island’s one village. The Robinson family, who by that time had owned the island for nearly a century, had restricted access to it for decades. Roll, an unusually enterprising photojournalist, had successfully penetrated what was by then known as the “Forbidden Island.”