Set in a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone tells the story of Herald Loomis, a man illegally enslaved on a chain gang, as he searches for his wife. Herald is, of course, deeply troubled by his past. His behavior becomes increasingly unstable, causing problems at the boarding house. The other residents have their own troubles to sort out. A local traveling salesman helps Herald find his wife. When she tries to renew his faith in Jesus, he refuses angrily, but performs a violent and personal act that sets him free. He leaves the boarding house, finally at peace, to seek his future.