Madeline Fairbanks, 46, is a woman who does not subscribe to the idea of racial segregation or the notion that men are superior to women. Her progressive views have made her unpopular with many in her small, dying town in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. However, her late husband's influence and her skills as a healer have allowed her to get away with her "transgressions" for years. Even her decision to take on a Black apprentice, Ren Morgan, has been tolerated by most of her white neighbors, though it has been met with some grumbling.
In 1917, a new reverend comes to town. He is charismatic and power-hungry, and he begins to preach about the importance of racial segregation. This stirs up the local KKK chapter, which had been dormant for some time. They target Maddie and her friends in the Black community, threatening to lynch Ren's father, Daniel, if Maddie does not stop associating with Black people, stop practicing her herbalism, and leave town.
Maddie is terrified by this threat, but she is also determined to fight for what she believes in. She will not bow to their demands and walk away. She will stay in Jamesville and protect the future of the all people she loves.