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Prosperous Virginia farmer Charlie Anderson, who believes that the Civil War is of no concern to him, lives with his six sons, his daughter, his daughter-in-law, and his infant granddaughter. Though they occasionally have to fight off soldiers who want their animals or supplies, they try to remain neutral. His daughter, Jennie, falls in love with and marries Sam, a Confederate officer who is called to duty on their wedding day. Charlie's youngest son, Boy, picks up and wears a discarded Confederate cap, and he is taken prisoner by Union soldiers. Leaving James, James's wife, and their baby behind to watch the farm, the others set out to find Boy and bring him back. Instead, they find Sam in a Union prison camp; and returning to the farm, they find that James and Ann have been murdered by Confederate looters, though the baby has been spared. Then another son, Jacob, is accidentally killed by a Confederate sentry. One Sunday, in the middle of church services, Boy comes limping into church to join his family.