Shortly before the start of the Civil War, William Dawkins, a lonely South Carolina plantation owner, purchases three young black women from the slave market. Despite the tempers and cultures of the day, he teaches them to read and write. No one expected they would fall in love, but they did. At the end of the Civil War, he offers the women their freedom, but they will not leave him.
After Dawkins is killed in a mysterious fire, his nephew, Spencer, who expected to inherit and pay off his gambling debts, is angered that his uncle’s three black “wives” – Rosetta, Miley, and Katie – have been granted the plantation. Determined to make things as difficult for the women as he can, Spencer hires the Klan to scare them and the law to defeat them, but he doesn’t count on their support from anti-slavery activists—or Rosetta’s will to survive.
Together, the women, who no longer have a slave mentality, must learn the business and fight against not only the family, but the prejudices of the Reconstructionist South to win a landmark case for blacks and women and receive the justice they deserve.