Bethany Herbert, daughter of a legendary healer, leaves the South for the new black community of Nicodemus, Kansas. Bethany's mother, Queen Bess, comes to Nicodemus, as does the handsome lawyer Jed Talbot, who galvanizes the settlers. Bethany resists the call of her heart because Queen Bess warns her the best healers are chaste and single. When her medical procedures are undermined, Bethany nearly succumbs to Queen Bess's call for total segregation from the whites Bess hates. Sinister forces come into play through white politicians seeking the black vote, and sabotage by a woman within Nicodemus who yearns for the old color hierarchy. The people of Nicodemus fight back.