Spring 1855 and Virginian farmer John Dickinson has a dangerous secret that will lead to a tragic decision. The family's riches have been wasted by his reckless brother who holds all of them hostage and, adding fuel to John's desperation, the enslaved workers have been visited by a Canadian abolitionist who pushes them to escape. One does, and his pursuit of freedom involves a dangerous quest to find his mother and child North of the border. Meanwhile, the Dickinson family become fugitives of another kind, escaping their losses in a wagon en route to a new life in the West. Confronted by hunger, fear and a near fatal river boat accident, each member of the family is tested to their limits.