Shiro, the daughter of a native tea-maker, cares nothing for the class distinctions of tea plantation life. She dreams of a future as a missionary doctor and wants nothing more than to play with her best friend, Lakshmi, even though Lakshmi is a coolie labourer. Into their world come Anthony Ashley Cooper and his brother William, heirs to the tea plantations in Sri Lanka. From childhood, the boys were taught to scorn Sri-Lankan natives and see labourers as slaves to be used for personal gratification and to increase company profits.Will Shiro's dream ever be realised or will circumstances conspire against her? Can Lakshmi rise above the destiny that says she will always be lowly labourer? Will Anthony and William ever see them for what they really are?