Set in the 1950s, Rough Magic tells the story of what happens when a pretty apprentice magician goes to Mexico to escape her fiancé, a wealthy politician, and to find a Mayan shaman who will teach her ancient principles of magic. She is being trailed by a detective hired by her fiancé. He's a former photojournalist traumatized by what he saw in Hiroshima. The photojournalist joins her in the search for the Mayan shaman, and falls in love with her; the feeling is not reciprocated. When she finds the shaman, she drinks a potion which empowers her to do magic. The potion has life-changing effects on her and her relationship with her companion. They have strange experiences which are brought about by magic.