Three iconic American storytellers have spent their lives chronicling the lives of others, while knowing almost nothing about their own family history. Ken Burns confronts the reality of his southern ancestors' role in the Civil War, including Confederate soldiers held captive and a slave-owning Virginian. Anderson Cooper, scion of one of America's most storied families, the Vanderbilts, longs to know more about his father's southern roots - including the story of an ancestor murdered by one his slaves. Anna Deavere Smith learns the story of her great-grandfather Basil Biggs, a free black man and former conductor on the Underground Railroad. All three guests' ancestors intersect at pivotal moments of American history.