Eight unrelated obese females are kidnapped from Modesto, California, and held in a remote ranch in Mexico as test subjects in a pharmaceutical company?s development of a diet medication. Each is forced to exercise and adhere to a strict controlled nutritional diet under medical supervision. At the onset, an extremely ambitious weight loss goal is set for each and the women are promised they will be freed once the goal is attained. So the ?ransom? is for pounds of flesh and not money. The story traces the results of the weight loss spanning various periods from 199 to 228 days on the women and their families. Some of the family relationships do not last and others become strengthened. Those who do achieve lasting relationships realize that despite the differences in the outer shell, the core person is unchanged.