Canaan fills a vast canvas. Its points of reference are Richmond in the throes of Reconstruction; the trading floors of Wall Street; a Virginia plantation; and the Great Plains, where the splendidly arrogant George Custer--Yellowhair--rides to his fate against Sitting Bull's warriors.
This is the story of America over twenty years of its most turbulent history. The characters are black, white, and red, ex-Union and ex-Confederate; and the principal narrator is a Santee woman She Goes Before who marries an ex-slave. Through her eyes we witness the hanging of her father by whites in the mass execution of 1863, Red Cloud's banquet with President Grant, and that final confrontation on the bluffs above the Little Bighorn.