Rosanna Hall enters womanhood with highly unfortunate timing. The colonies have charged into war against Great Britain. Rosanna’s father donates the entirety of his family’s fortunes from their printing business to Congress, ruining all of Rosanna's future prospects. Enraged at her parents, Rosanna bitterly abandons them. But she immediately finds those she called friends turning away from her. Desperate but stubborn, Rosanna turns to prostitution as her only means of survival. It is in the pleasure house that Rosanna is singled out by the wealthy gentleman, Quincy Peebel. He buys her. At one of Peebel's Tory balls, Rosanna is horrified to witness the murder of a Continental soldier made into sport. Unable to live surrounded by such people, she takes the murdered soldier’s uniform and joins Washington's army, masquerading as a man. In the army, she strains against the love of a Continental officer who discovers her sex on one side, and the determination of a British colonel to dominate her on the other.