Under the unforgiving desert sky, two warring leaders come face to face. The bodies of their warriors litter the battlefield. The victorious Nesib, Emir of Hobeika (ANTONIO BANDERAS), lays down his peace terms to his rival Amar, Sultan of Salmaah (MARK STRONG). The two men agree that neither may lay claim to the area of no man's land between them called The Yellow Belt. In return and according to the tribal customs of the time, Nesib will "adopt" - or take hostage - Amar's two boys Saleeh (AKIN GAZI) and Auda (TAHAR RAHIM); a guarantee that neither man can invade the other. Years later, Saleeh and Auda have grown into young men. Saleeh, the warrior, itches to escape his gilded cage and return to his father's land. Auda cares only for books and the pursuit of knowledge. One day, their adopted father Nesib is visited by an American oil man from Texas (COREY JOHNSON). He tells the Emir that his land is blessed with oil and promises him riches beyond his imagination.