At fifteen, Liam Ashley joins the Confederate Army in the Civil War to prove his manhood and forget a terrible childhood filled with abuse and punishment. He is unaware of his sexual orientation, or of his early suffering, but he knows he is different from the boys with whom he grew up.
Liam leaves the infantry to join Jeb Stuart's cavalry. Stuart becomes his commanding officer and Liam's role model for what men ought to be.He admires Stuart's manliness, his confident attitude and demeanor, and covets his long elegant boots and cavalry coat. Stuart is baffled by Liam's behaviour as Liam tries to provoke Stuart into the only kind of relationship with a man that Liam understands. Liam's admiration for Stuart turns to a fierce desire for which he has no understanding or control.