When James finds out that his father has deceived him, it sets up a conflict between the two men that takes a war to settle. When hostilities break out in 1861, he leaves home, ostensibly to serve the Southern cause. Instead, he embarks on his own mission to help slaves escape to Canada.
Now considered to be a traitor and an outlaw by the South, danger is his constant companion; certain death awaits him should he be caught. Although he is powerless to go against his conscience, he is equally ridden with guilt for turning his back on his heritage. James knows that when the war ends, there will still be one last confrontation left for him: facing his father.