It is Illinois in the 1830s, and Abraham Lincoln is an ambitious—if charmingly awkward—young circuit lawyer and state legislator. Among his friends and political colleagues are Joshua Speed, William Herndon, Stephen Douglas, and many others who have come to the exploding frontier town of Springfield to find their futures.
One of these men is poet Cage Weatherby. Cage both admires and clashes with Lincoln, questioning his cautious stance on slavery. But he stays by Lincoln's side, even as Lincoln slips back and forth between high spirits and soul-hollowing sadness and depression, and even as he recovers from a disastrous courtship to marry the beautiful, capricious, politically savvy Mary Todd. Mary will bring stability to Lincoln's life, but she will also trigger a conflict that sends the two men on very different paths into the future.