Boston, 1770. In the aftermath of the Boston Massacre-a deadly street confrontation between American colonists and an occupying British brigade-John Adams takes an unpopular stand by agreeing to serve as defense attorney for the accused British soldiers. Counseled in his summation by his beloved wife Abigail, Adams wins the case-but surprises the British by turning down a lucrative position with the Crown. As pro-independent sentiment boils over in Massachusetts following the Coercive/Intolerable Acts, Adams is invited to join the newly created Continental Congress. After a rousing speech to his constituents, he says an emotional goodbye to his family before heading to Philadelphia--and an uncertain future.