A young couple leaves Ohio for the promise of a new life on the Kansas plains. They settle a prime tract of land near Lawrence, Kansas. A second young couple escape the bonds of slavery in Missouri. Circumstance brings them together, and together they build a future in the shelter of a mighty sycamore tree. Set against the backdrop of national ambition to westward expansion and a nation divided over the issue of slavery, the young settlers fight to hold their land and realize the future that unites them. Opposed by a powerful adversary who covets their land, they battle human treachery, hostile Indians, prejudice, and a bloody, burning prelude to war. Together they face the forces of war, healing a wounded community, drought, pestilence, and death. They battle to hold a hard-won home and fulfill the promises of their future.