Despite deep misgivings, Captain Jonas Brye accepts a charter to sail up the coast of Northern California to a location inaccessible by land. The hiring party is led by a man named Victor Madison, whose motives are not as above board as first presented. During the journey, the captain hears strange noises coming from the hold, experiences an old childhood nightmare, and learns of an alleged isolated village.
And when they finally weigh anchor near the destination, Brye's unease coalesces into horror.
When a mass grave is discovered during the initial groundbreaking of a new housing development in Wolf's Head Bay, celebrations for the town's founding in 1853 and the Fourth of July are put on hold. With all construction coming to a halt, an analysis of the grave determines that it is over a century old and a team of forensic anthropologists arrives to uncover clues to the dead.
Meantime, after more than ten years away, Marita 'Marty' Brye moves back into the family home she had inherited from her mother. When she finds old photographs hidden under a closet floorboard, Marty finds herself thrust into a mystery. While seeking to find the truth behind her mother's death, Marty unearths secrets that, like the mass grave, lead back further into the past than she had anticipated.