The movie tells of how science fiction author H.G. Wells builds a time machine in 1893 London, the same one Wells fictionalized in his novel The Time Machine. Before he is able to test the machine, a friend of his is discovered to be Jack the Ripper and steals the machine to escape capture by going to 1979 San Francisco. Wells pursues, where he meets and falls in love with bank employee Amy Robbins. The duo try to stop the Ripper from further killings. Jack finds modern American society to be pleasingly bloody; he remarks at one point that in 1893 England he was a monster, but in 1979 America he is an amateur.