DEAD MAN WALKING is a drama that explores the relationship between a condemned young convict and the nun who counsels him in the days leading up to his execution. Drawn from the real-life Sister Helen's own experiences, Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) is on death row after being convicted of brutally raping and murdering a young couple. He writes to Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon), asking her to visit him in prison. She acts as his spiritual adviser and begins to spend time each day with him. Prejean, who strongly opposes capital punishment, attempts to get Poncelet's death sentence rescinded. Her first mission however, is to save Poncelet's soul by getting him to face up to his guilt.