A former hero of the French/Indian War, Benjamin Martin has renounced fighting forever to raise his family in peace. Although once a wily and ferocious soldier, he marries a fine woman who bears him seven children and, under her influence, trades his violent past for a peaceful future on his sprawling plantation. But rebellion is brewing--another conflict with Britain is inevitable. Recently widowed, his goals change. He's the sole caretaker of his brood, and the horrors of past combat haunt him still. Benjamin's eldest son, Gabriel, harbors no doubts about going to war: the radical speeches and newsletters that began in the cities and traverse the Colonies have made an impression on him. War is coming, and Gabriel feels the cause is just. In defiance of his father, he joins the fight. Benjamin is conflicted--as stalwart as he is in his opposition to the war, he believes in the cause. When the British arrive, the reluctant hero discovers that he must join the nation's war to protect his family.