Ten years after the Civil War, in the coastal resort of St. Augustine, Florida, tensions between transplanted Northerners and residents who served in the Confederacy are high. Amid this, the city hosts a burgeoning influx of tourists who enjoy its warm winters and the Old World decor of its streets and hotels. At the same time, blacks are being thrown out of public offices they had been elevated to by Reconstruction. Others are jailed so that sheriffs can exploit them for chain labor.
Into this mix arrives a trainload of renegade Plains Indians to be imprisoned at Ft. Marion, the city's medieval garrison. Their presence further stokes racial divides. The Sheriff, vowing to restore order, arrests a popular former slave for killing a white woman. This action enflames citizens who know the former slave is innocent.
Among those who challenge the Sheriff's tactics are Nan Carew, a white teacher of black children, and her friend, Lije Taylor, son of the former slave. Joining them is a young Kiowa warrior singled out by the Sheriff for his improper association with Nan.
As the Sheriff increases his violence against Blacks and others who challenge his authority, the three young allies retreat to their private refuge at Redfish Oak, far away from the city, and make a secret pact to rid St. Augustine of the Sheriff and his henchmen.
Redfish Oak is based on real people and events.