Mississippi, 1830's. Tom Rumsford comes back to Magnolia Landing, his parents'estate. Having been brought up in the North by Quaker relatives, he just hates violence and accordingly refuses a duel. As this is the only way in the South to settle a dispute between gentlemen, Tom's father is so infuriated by his behavior that Tom has no other choice but leave. Away from Magnolia Landing, Tom learns bravery and returns seven years later as "the notorious Colonel Blake", the terror of the Lower Mississippi.