Dana returns back to Maryland after she left Kevin there for 5 years in the antebellum south period. Dana was called for her 5th trip to save Rufus, her ancestor's life in danger.
When Rufus was attempting to stop Alice from running away and escaping with Isaac, Isaac had beaten Rufus very badly in the fight because Rufus had raped Alice. Luckily, Dana jumps in to prevent Isaac from killing Rufus. The theme develop in this scene is love is stronger than hate.
Rufus explains himself to Dana that when Alice and he are little, they were friends. When they grew up, Alice choose Isaac who is a slave over Rufus and that was why Rufus was angry. Rufus said he could offer Alice better care than Isaac, but Alice kept saying no. Which made Rufus hurt and raped Alice. As Rufus grew older in this scene, he develops his feeling towards Alice not just as simple as friends but deeper. Rufus consider Alice as an important person in his part of life.
When Dana found out that Rufus hadn't sent the letters she had wrote for Kevin, she decided to run away North to find Kevin herself that night.
Almost immediately, the Weylins come looking for Dana when they knew that Dana had escaped. After Rufus had found Dana, he resort to beaten her for the first time. As Rufus grew older to about 18 or 19, he disrespects Dana due to his environmental changes as the step of the journey moves on as Rufus grew to become more like his father. A plantation and slave owner needs to learn how to control their slaves.
Back at the house, Weylin ties Dana up and beats her senselessly as a punishment for running away and escaping. The theme develop in this scene is as environmental changes, it shapes how a person evolves with it.