Against the backdrop of the dangerous, sweltering Civil War summer of 1863, the Bowery explodes with racial tension and the City of New York rushes headlong toward the fatal July draft riots. Moving to the music and rhythms of these dangerous times, a diverse band of characters are drawn together in a net of intrigue and violence. Jack Mulcahey, leading an Irish Minstrel Troupe, stars opposite his true love, a beautiful Mulatto girl who whites her face and crosses the ice as Eliza in "Uncle Tom's Cabin." On the blistering streets outside, corrupt Tammany Hall bosses plot to take advantage of the chaos to enrich themselves whilst destroying any hopes of escape to a place of freedom and peace for Jack and his little family. The famous songwriter, Stephen Foster, himself one of the Banished Children of Eve, wends his way through this entrancing drama as he produces the beautiful melodies which have given the country its lasting evocation of the times.