In childhood and youth, the three were the inseparables Luisa married Ángel, then two years later, she left him to marry Ramiro. After ten years, Ángel reappears, back from South America, broke and ill. Luisa is overcome with sentimentality and, over Ramiro's objections, takes Ángel into their house. Ángel is bitter, he and Ramiro have shifted from best friends to enemies. Luisa wants to be in love with both. Ramiro hopes he can wait out Ángel's declining health, and Luisa wants to heal Ángel through force of will. What is Ángel's plan? Observing the roiling emotions are Luisa and Ramiro's precocious young children. Who's in danger here?
Rural Mississippi in the 1940s: Lucas Beauchamp, a local black man with a reputation of not kowtowing to whites, is found standing over the body of a dead white man, holding a pistol that has recently been fired. Quickly arrested for murder and jailed, Beauchamp insists he's innocent and asks the town's most prominent lawyer, Gavin Stevens, to defend him, but Stevens refuses. When a local boy whom Beauchamp has helped in the past and who believes him to be innocent hears talk of a mob taking Beauchamp out of jail and lynching him, he pleads with Stevens to defend Beauchamp at trial and prove his innocence.