Mississippi in 1964 is ready to burn. Three young Civil Rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Micky Schwerner, are murdered on their way back home after trying to help blacks register to vote. The bodies disappear. The smoldering embers of racial hatred now explode into violent flames. Two FBI agents are called in to investigate the murders. Rupert Anderson and Alan Ward are the agents who are sent to investigate the disappearance of the three boys. Anderson was once a Southern sheriff and still has a cynical affection for the South. Ward is a college educated young man inspired by Kennedy's plea to serve his country. He believes justice will be served, but is naïve as to how to accomplish it.