Sarny (Allison Jones) is born into slavery and separated from her mother at an early age. She's raised by Dealey (Lorraine Toussaint), who promises early on that "nuthin' too bad" will happen to her young charge. Clel Waller (Beau Bridges), who owns the plantation, is a cruel man, who sees the slaves only in terms of their monetary value. Life on the plantation changes when Clel buys Nightjohn (Carl Lumbly), a hulk of a man, with scars across his back from the whip. Branded as a troublemaker, Nightjohn has trouble earning ...