The McKissack Plantation, was destroyed by, the Union Soldiers during the Civil War, to the point that nothing is left to call home. When Thomas Joshua, McKissack returned, from the divided war. He alone couldn’t built the mansion back to it splendor, as it once was.
But, he saw to it that his mother Aretha McKissack, had a proper burial next to his brother R.J.McKissack, who was only three when the war concluded. In all, his time in the Confederacy, he had begin to question certain segments, of his life.
One, was his father insistence that, he join the people, of the South to defend their rights, from the people, of the Union soldiers. Who was carrying out the orders, of the president, of the United States? The same leaders, who just a few years ago represent the country, as a whole.
But, those are questions , he will ask when , he locate him father Marcus McKissack. Who left his mother alone when the Unions soldiers attack their plantation? He’s holding rage within, while not knowing, who to call friend?
To many on the Barksdale cattle drive they avoid the hot brooding southern man. They just trying to get through the mountains, of Colorado.
Amos, a black cowboy, who’s black and half-Indian does mince words, when offended? And, his distaste for Thomas McKissack, is known to many, on the cattle trail. But, why isn’t the question many wants to ask? Because, they have witness both people kill many for asking.
At, the evening food chow they stare, at one another with vengeance, but has accept the fact they must agree to get along for the sake , of their employer, Duke Barkdales. Who has promise his ranch hands a fair division, of the profits?
To Amos, profit is something , he has heard all his life before the Emancipation Proclamation freed some slaves. Because, he was up for sale before his escape to freedom. It was another gunslinger that challenge him to pick up a Colt 45, and become a good shooter, by telling him death knows no other, but you.
Hi mother Annabelle, was sold many times in his youth. And, he witnessed his father death, by the whipping, of his slave master. Memories, that many that Amos, has let get close knows still bother him to this day. While riding, across the Colorado trail the ranch hands, of Duke Barkdales stands together when they are approached, by a few strangers.
Who seem interested in a proposition that isn’t to their interest? “Whoa..friends we want to talk to you about the donating, of some free cattle to us.” The leader, of the riders dresses in confederate garbs, ask as if, they think the war is still in progress.
“Free, I’m sure you misspoken..these herds belongs to Duke Barkdales.” “Well, maybe we did mis-speak, but it will serve you better to offer us some cattle.” The dark head confederate spokesman says with a serious tone to his voice.
And, the head ranch leader, of Duke Barkdales, advises the southern soldiers no one will win In this dispute. “Well, that remains to be seen.” Speaking, another, of the Confederate soldier. Which causes Thomas McKissack to speak up. “Gentlemen..like my boss said..it’s better to move on to other areas.” He says, with his heart still loyal to the south.
“Son, you wear southern clothes..so I take it you understand our point.” Explaining that the northern soldiers ran over his region, without a moment thought. “Captain, the war is a done deal..so let leave it be.” Still, the soldiers stand strong in unity.
“Hey, aren’t you Marcus McKissack son? You know,,he would be upset to see his son being disloyal to his southern heritage?” “Maybe, he would but..I can’t say since I hadn’t located him.” Saying that, he has his own debt to settle with his father. And , one day that day will come near.
“Well, boy!” The unshaven soldier captain speaks, to the former slave. “I guess, if you had rights you would speak too.” Words that attracts the attention, of Thomas McKissack quicker than, those of the slave known, Amos.
“If, he don’t..I do.” But, while he remains, a quiet person. His rage isn’t in holding back his opinion when he’s threaten. “What rights do you have to take others property? ” Claiming that all his life he has been controlled, and held hostage , by others. Who dictated his every move and action? “But, this boy has an answer for you.”
Suddenly, the tough and quiet slave unleashed many rounds into the four confederate soldiers, before they could react. “Remember me, as I remember you!” A comment spoken directly toward his fellow ranch hand Thomas McKissack.. Who stares back in awe? As, he along with other employed ranch hands watches the former slave return to his place, of interest.
Amazed, by the quickness they witness, from the draw, of the slave known only, by his first name. One things is obvious the former slave has a grudge to settle. They just don’t know who against? “Amos, I knew you was quick but you surprise me.” The lead ranch hand says to his fellow herdsman.
“Somethings you know and somethings you don’t.” Amos, says , while looking in the direction, of Thomas McKissack. Who stares back , but not threaten, by the tall slim negro slave? With , the sun about to reach mid point, of noon the ranch hands decide to move on toward their destination. A cattle trail has never been nice to anyone seeking more than a payment for their time.
They arrive in to the nearest town exhausted, from the traveling. Where they instantly face trouble? “Y’all can come into the hotel, but the boy stays outside.” The hotel owner says, with a southern drawl. “What his money isn’t worthy, of your time?” The cattle rancher leader says directly to the owner.
“This is my business..and I dictate the rules.” “Kindly Sir, I abide, by your decision.” Amos, says while looking, at the all white citizens and clients, of the small hotel. He ride his horse Spirit, out side the town , at a quick rate, of speed. He’s hurt and filled with anguish that would keep any other down. But not him, he won’t let it. While in his rush, from the small growing town. He was follow, by Thomas McKissack, who refuse to rent, a room , from the hotel owner?
Without thinking, Amos draw upon the southern son, of a Confederate Captain and soldier , of the lost war. “You know you would be dead, if I didn’t catch a glimpse, of who you are?” “Amos, I notice you have something against me..And , I want to know why?” McKissack says, but get no answer to his question. “No reason, if you must know.”
But, Thomas McKissack knows, he hiding something deep. He does offer the slave peace and solitude, as he heads back toward the town they came from. While leaving his fellow cattle runner behind. Soon, gun fire attracts his attention to turn around and return to the area his associate was at. Where, he witness Amos, the slave being capture, by other Southern cow hands.
“Look boy, we want to know..why you think you deserve to live amongst us good folks?” Asking, while advising him they truly don’t want an answer to the question because his life won’t be here long. They toss a rope upon a tree to frighten and send fear to the former slave. Who isn’t afraid, by the actions, of these southern gentlemen?
“Boy, doesn’t anything scare you?” One inquire, of the former slave. Who stays quiet and doesn’t answer any question’s asked, of him? Arriving upon the scene in a surprising fashion that causes the southerners to draw upon Thomas McKisack. “Son, you almost met your maker!” Calm and cool with the hostage takers.” Knowing that the words spoken is a serious enough threat that McKissack apologize to his fellow confederates.
“Amos..did you truly think that Lincoln man had the right to free..what’s my property?” The tall leader, of this group says, as if, he once owed slaves in the past before the Emancipation Proclamation was put into law. “Far, from it boy. Like I owed your father Moses and your mammy Annabelle…I ALSO OWN YOU!!” With each word he speaks, the slave Amos gets more angry, but realize that he’s out numbered to handle the situation. And, with each word spoken, by the head, of this confederate supporter Thomas Joshua, McKissack, is recognizing the voice.
“I have pledge on my life to recapture all slaves that was part, of the McKissack Plantation.” A ringing in the ear that send Thomas McKissack to run toward the voice because he recognize it to be his father, Marcus McKissack. “Pa!” The young man yells, with surprise. “Who dare call me pa?” The elderly leader says, in amazement. “I’m your son !”
He stares, at the young man seriously. While slowly recognizing it to be his young son. “Tom!.Son, I been looking all over for you since this war has ended..but couldn’t locate you.” As, happy he seems to see his father, he’s not joyful to the extent his father seems to be because he knows his father abandon the plantation, at the expense, of his mother.
“Pa, why you didn’t try to save ma?” His southern voice ask in a worry pitch. “It wasn’t enough time..but we address that issues some other time.” Hoping to avoid the issue for, he has no serious answer for the man. “Right now son..I’m claiming my property.” He says , speaking about the free slave called Amos. “He should sell pretty well to bring me riches to rebuilt the McKissack plantation.” “Listen, I’m a free man.” Amos proclaims.
“You’re a slave!!” The owner, of the plantation says, as he slap the slave man for talking. “Just like your pappy Moses..you talk a little too much!” He says loudly, as he slaps the slave once more.
“Pa, this isn’t the same Amos..I played with, as a boy?” “I’m afraid so, Tom.” The younger McKissack think back about the slave in their youth. When they played together only to become separated, by the Civil War. He thinks about the time the former slave mother saved his life, from sickness when his mother didn’t know how?
“Look, at him with his fancy Union outfit on..well we’re about to hang him with it on.” The boy father says. “Yea, you’ll be free after I hang you, boy.” Saying, he has changed his mind about Amos, because he doesn’t need disruption on his Plantation, once he begins to rebuilt. As, they prepare for tree hanging the elder Mckissack notice his son. “Tom, what’s wrong? ..We’re only killing what’s in my right to do.”
“No pa..I can’t let you hang Amos.” “You can’t let me?” His father reply. While pointing out to his son he don’t need his permission to do anything because he answer to no one. “Pa, I advise you to put your weapons down!”
The older McKissack, says to his son that together they can make the plantation better than, what it was.” “I rather save a man’s life than build some land.” “That’s your problem Tom..he’s a slave not a man!” His father states harshly to him.
“He’s a man within my eyes.” Without, a single thought he fires, at the supporters, of his father just to send fear through Amos horse to flea. Which it does with the slave upon it. “Thomas!! What’s wrong with you?!”
“Nothing!..I just remember sometimes..it’s just better to try not to go back.” While distracted through memories Thomas McKissack, isn’t paying attention to his father. Who has his gun aimed directly, at his son? “Thomas, you would have made a good partner..but obviously it’s not meant to be.”
His father says, as he pulled the trigger back on his weapon. But, before any bullets are fired, he’s shot directly in the heart, by the slave Amos. Who has returned to the scene? And, in the process he fire off several more rounds wounding the supporters, of the confederate plantation owner. “Amos!..you came back? Wondering, why this former slave put his life in danger to save him?
“I owe you, Thomas McKissack. My Ma, said always judge a man, y his heart.” Amos speaks into the eyes, of Thomas McKissack. “And your southern heart..says more, by your action and deeds. When you put your trust in your faith, of saving me.” The tough former slave says, with a smile.
“Mister McKissack, remember me, as I remember you.” The ex slaves says to the smiling Thomas McKissack, as her rides off on his own. A comment that reminds them, of the friendship they had as a child.