Jack Torrance is a temperamental writer who is trying to rebuild his and his family's life after his alcoholism and volatile temper cause him to lose his teaching position at a small preparatory school.
Having given up alcohol, he accepts a job as a winter caretaker at a large and isolated hotel in Colorado, in the hope this will reestablish him as a responsible person, enable him to finish a promising play, and resume his career.
He moves to the hotel (the Overlook) with his wife, Wendy, and young son, Danny, who is telepathic (the "shining" of the title) and sensitive to supernatural forces.
The paths of the Overlook, Jack, Wendy and Danny collide in the terrifying conclusion to 'The Shining'.
Jack has fallen victim to the Overlook's lies, and is almost completely bereft of the father and husband he once was. Wendy realizes something is very wrong, and wants nothing more than to get her and Danny away from both Jack and the hotel. Danny's visions continue to grow in intensity, to the point where he summons friendly chef Dick Hallorann for help. Hallorann also has 'the shine', and begins the treacherous trip to the Overlook.
Will Wendy be able to save Danny? Will Dick arrive in time? Or will Jack carry out the hotel's mission and live forever within its walls?