The Amish community of Lancaster is being terrorized by barn fires. David and Malinda Beiler’s barn was the first to go. The clues are sparse, but Levi, the Beilers’ oldest son, happened to be awake in the middle of the night and spotted a white vehicle driving past the house with its lights off. Sarah, David and Malinda’s daughter, observes her parents’ agony. Not only is she afraid, and wishing she could protect her parents, she’s entranced by the flirtatious Matthew Stoltzfus. He’s dating her friend, Rose, but when he tenderly bandages Sarah’s hand after she burned it at the barn raising, she wonders who he’s really interested in.
When a second barn burns for suspicious reasons, the group grows more restless. “We’re too quiet too much of the time,” a group of Amish men tell David Beiler, their minister. Seriously considering police protection, the increasingly tense community questions their traditional nonresistant approach to violence. Sarah now finds herself at odds with her mother over her choice of boyfriends and uncertain about how to respond to the attention of Lee, a newcomer to Lancaster. Not only that, she wonders if her dad is a wise enough leader as her community reels from within and without. Everyone is on edge as the losses mount and suspicions undo the usual steadiness of these people.