Sid Johnson's parents claim they don't know anything about a slave stealer that slave holders call the "Phantom." But when Sid discovers that their Southern Illinois farm is a stop on the Underground Railroad, he isn't so sure Ma and Pa are telling him the truth. They could get caught breaking the law. When bounty hunters threaten Pa, Sid resolves to take action to protect the family. Before his plans are in place, bounty hunters burn the barn. With a civil war brewing and the farm compromised as a stop on the Underground Railroad, Ma and Pa decide to go west. Disappointed that he failed to learn any more about the slave stealer, Sid is glad to leave the slave question behind. He is about to find out that the ugly shadow of slavery reaches beyond the Johnson farm to the Santa Fe Trail, and his involvement with the Phantom Slave Stealer has just begun.