When two white men are successively strung up from the same tree following the brutal lynching of a Negro, the small southern town of Jemimah pulls itself together, organizes a branch of the Klan, and tries to convict the most innocuous colored man in town. The theme of race relations in the South, adorned with physical violence, sexual perversion, illicit love and two murders should create more suspense than it does. But the identity of the true criminal, a young Jewish boy who feels that his race will be next, and the release of the accused Negro is clear from the start. The action, interpreted by a number of characters, the sheriff, the town's unofficial ""overlord"", the murderer, a movie house owner who eventually takes a stand on the side of the angels, etc. is dissipated rather than focused.