Trouble between free-staters and slave-staters ferments in the young state of Missouri, where a band of wealthy Virginians have founded new plantations and the town of Independence. Among them Fairacres, the plantation of the narrator's great-grand-parents, at first an ideal spot for corn-shucking and flute-playing, becomes the scene of complex drama. James Shepherd, a slave-owner fundamentally against slavery, and William Cantrell, his cousin, head a group of Sons of the South to protect life and property. Trouble explodes when they are suspected of condoning the activities of two mulatto slaves, Jethro and Sue Lee. Sue Lee, beautiful and passionate, is torn between militant allegiance to her race and her unwilling love for Cantrell, her lover. Cantrell is in love with pretty Mary Boyd. But nothing is solved, neither Missouri's problems, nor Shepherd's, nor Cantrell's, and the story ends before the Civil War- with Mary Boyd's marriage to another man. Asiatic cholera plays a part, lynching and the underground railroad and murder, and even Kit Caraon wanders in at the end in a supplementary role... A solid historical novel, sporadic in development, but reflecting the fascination of its background.