Dana Franklin is an African American woman thrust into the past to save a white ancestor. She must experience slavery of the south. The man she is sent to protect is Rufus Weylin. In the end, she kills Rufus and loses an arm on her final return to the present.
Kevin Franklin is Dana's husband. He is white with gray hair and almost colorless eyes. After Dana ventures to the past a couple of times, he tricks his way into going with her the next time. This causes some problems between them due to their experiences in the past.
Alice Greenwood is a black ancestor of Dana's. They look a lot alike. She is initially a free black, but after she and her husband try to escape, she is sold into slavery. Dana persuades Alice to sleep with Rufus, two of her children die, and the other slaves have nothing to do with her because she is sleeping with Rufus. She becomes very bitter.
Rufus Weylin is the white ancestor that Dana is sent to protect. He can be cruel, as seen with his attempt to rape Alice. Dana is able to get along with him until he tries to use Dana as a replacement for Alice. Dana kills him.