The U.S. has finally entered the First World War and scheduled the first draft lottery. No one in Boynton, Oklahoma, is unaffected by the clash between rabid pro-war, anti-immigrant "patriots" and anti-conscription socialists, who are threatening an uprising rather than submit to the draft. Alafair Tucker is caught in the middle when her brother, a union organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, pays her a visit. Rob Gunn is fresh out of an internment camp for participants in an Arizona miners’ strike. He assures Alafair that he's only come to visit family, but she's not so sure. More unsettling, Alafair's eldest son enlists, and a group calling itself the “Knights of Liberty” vandalizes the farm of Alafair’s German-born son-in-law. Alafair’s younger son, 16-year-old Charlie, is wildly patriotic and horrified by his socialist uncle. With his father's permission Charlie takes a part-time war job at the Francis Vitric Brick Company. Soon several suspicious machine breakdowns delay production, and a couple of shift supervisors are murdered. Everyone in town suspects sabotage, some blaming German spies, others blaming the unionists and socialists. But Charlie Tucker is sure he knows who the culprit is and comes up with a plan to catch him red-handed. And then there is old Nick—a mysterious guy in a bowler hat who's been hanging around town.