Featuring a star-studded cast, The Man Who Came Back is based on the Thibodaux Massacre, the second bloodiest labor strike in US history. Following the Civil War, recently freed slaves working on a Louisiana plantation are worked relentlessly but paid minimum wages. Sometimes paid only in "script," worthless money accepted only at the plantation's overpriced store, the workers soon become indebted to plantation owners. This creates an inescapable situation for these freemen looking to gain real freedom. In an attempt to better their lives, the workers strike. This leads to massive retaliation by the most powerful men in the town including the town sheriff (Armande Assante); the preacher (Al Hayter); power-hungry Billy Duke (James Patrick Stuart) and his vigilante group of thugs. White overseer Reese Paxton (Eric Braeden) steps up to demand justice for his workers, but Dukes rage turns on Paxton and his family. Despite assistance from a Yankee attorney (Billy Zane), Paxton is convicted by Billy's father - the corrupt Judge Duke (George Kennedy). After being sent to prison, beaten within inches of his life, and having endured merciless emotional torture, Paxton "comes back" to seek revenge.