Katherine Barlow is the local teacher at the school. She is accosted by rich landowner, Trout Walker, who proposes to her, but she rejects him. Kate is attracted to the local onion seller Sam, an African American merchant. He helps repair her schoolhouse's roof, window and doors in exchange for Kate's spiced peaches. As he works they begin to fall in love, when Sam kisses Kate, the townspeople burn the school.