In the town of Julia, the residents of the black neighborhood of Gospel Hill, are being forced out of their homes to make way for a multimillion-dollar golf course development.
Race relations are strained just as they were thirty years ago when Peter Malcolm (Samuel Jackson), a black civil rights activist, was assassinated. Dr. Ron Palmer (Giancarlo Esposito), an influential black community leader who runs the emergency clinic in Gospel Hill, is supporting the golf course development and helping to push people off their land.
Peter Malcolm's brother, John Malcolm (Danny Glover), withdrew from the community and the fight for civil rights after his brother's assassination, haunted by feelings of hatred for Jack Herrod (Tom Bower). Herrod, the towns bigoted, ex-sheriff, was responsible for letting the investigation of Peter's murder dissipate with no one charged.
Meanwhile, Sarah Malcolm (Angela Bassett), Johns wife, takes it upon herself to battle Dr. Palmer and reveal his profiteering to the whole town, exposing him for the greedy man he has become.
Jack's sons are Carl Herrod (Adam Baldwin), an iconoclastic lawyer, who is having an affair with the doctors' wife (Nia Long) and Joel Herrod (Taylor Kitsch), who has tried to distance himself from his father's name and reputation. Joel has a struggling landscaping business that flourishes when he begins to work for Dr. Palmer, but when he falls in love with Rosie (Julia Stiles), a school teacher helping Sarah fight Palmer, the conflict of interest becomes too present to ignore.