In 1863, Mississippi farmer Newt Knight serves as a medic for the Confederate Army. Opposed to slavery, Knight could as a substitute help the wounded than combat the Union. After his nephew dies in warfare, Newt returns home to Jones County to safeguard his family but is soon branded an outlaw deserter. Forced to flee, he unearths safe haven with a set of runaway slaves hiding out within the swamps. Forging an alliance with the slaves and different farmers, Knight leads a rebellion that could forever change records.