James Flood, just released from a Florida prison, has a desperate scheme. He and his recruits, all hardened criminals, will move in upon a prominent upstate New York family, holding the Hayworth women as hostages while awaiting delivery of a four-million-dollar ransom. Marcus Hayworth, a leading member of the Quaker community, is convinced he can subvert Flood's plan. Instead of going to the police, he asks the Quaker community to back him in non-violent opposition.
Subsequent events isolate both hostages and captors within the Hayworth house, waging a war of nerves that involves more than a clash between good and evil. For Flood has an urgent and specific need for revenge. And Hayworth's principles have never been put to the ultimate test.