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Follow two young boys into manhood. The reader explores the struggles encountered within an 1860's Pennsylvania farm family that has but one mission; to survive. The family is torn apart by the human conflict of slavery and decency. Sam wrestles with the contradiction of duty to preserve freedom for all men verses dying on the battlefield and leaving his family alone. While brother Tom struggles with growing up under little brother Sam's moral shadow and never quite measuring up. The Civil War only brings more tension and frustration as the brothers pick opposite sides. Tom is unfit to serve and joins the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) while Sam leaves the family to serve the Union. Sam's detail is massacred by the KGC. Sam, the only survivor, is left alone with a shipment of 1300 pounds of gold bars. Sam is tested as he contemplates; "Do I complete the mission or run away and live like a king?"