Amid rising tensions of the 1830s in Florida, the Seminole Indians retreat into the darkness of the Everglades swamps rather than be sent to reservations. They are joined by runaway slaves fleeing cruel plantation owners. Calida is one such slave who once saved the life of a Seminole War chief, Panther. Calida is also the sole witness to the murder of her master's wife by his own hand. Soon after Calida joins the Seminole camp, she and Panther are deeply in love, but their mutual enemies are quickly closing in on their Everglades haven.