Urban industrialization is growing in Georgia after World War II. Riverside a modern farm and canning plant, is incomplete because promoter Henry Warren (Michael Caine) needs two small privately-owned farms. One belongs to a white family, Rad McDowell (John Phillip Law) and his wife, Lou (Faye Dunaway); the other to a black family, Rose Scott (Beah Richards) and her son, Reeve (Robert Hooks). The option on the land owned by Julie Ann Warren (Jane Fonda) will expire unless Henry can get title. When Julie Ann appeals to her childhood "Mammy" Rose, Reeve gives the original deed to Professor Thurlow (Rex Ingram) whose schoolteacher-granddaughter, goes to court and is a farce as conducted by Judge Purcell (Burgess Meredith), until Julie Ann withdraws her claim.
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