It is America in 2043, thirty years after a nuclear war started an apocalypse. In "The Book of Eli" the title character, played by Denzel Washington, wanders on foot through the eerie wasteland of the neo Wild West. He embodies the typical lone man struggling to live during harsh times. "The Book of Eli" is a violent shoot-em-up film with heavy religious connotations as Eli acts as an avenging angel while on his pilgrimage.
Eli is a tough pilgrim, a survivor of the war, and no stranger to using violence as a means to survive. During his search for water, he comes to a town run by Carnegie, who dreams of building more towns and controlling people with a powerful book called the Bible. When Carnegie discovers that Eli is carrying the book he desires, he sends his thugs to shoot him down and steal it. However, Eli is somehow mysteriously protected, and the bullets graze him when they should have killed him. He leaves town and is followed by Solara, the daughter of Carnegie's blind concubine.
Eli rescues Solara from men who intended to rape her and allows her to join him on his journey. Eli tells her why he is walking, and that he is carrying the last copy of the Bible in the world. All of the other copies were destroyed after the nuclear war. A voice led him to the book. When he found it, the voice told him to travel West to a place where it would be safe, and that he would be protected on his journey. For the last 30 years he has traveled west, on foot, guided by his faith and the mysterious voice.
Spoiler: Bible Lost
Carnegie and his thugs follow Eli and Solara and catch up with them when they reach the house of cannibals George and Martha. They surround them, and a fight breaks out. Carnegie takes Solara hostage and threatens to kill her if Eli doesn't give him the book. Not wanting her to be killed by the madman, Eli gives him the Bible. The book has a lock, and once it is forced open, Carnegie learns, to his dismay, that the book is written in Braille: Eli is blind. Carnegie cannot read the book, and his plans to control the masses are ruined.
Eli and Solara make it to Alcatraz and are allowed in because he informs the guards that they have a copy of the King James Bible. Eli has memorized the book over his travels, and he dictates it to someone who makes a copy of the Bible with a printing press, thus saving the book from being utterly erased from human memory before he dies.