Mandingo is the 1975 blaxploitation movie that explores the tragic outcome of forbidden love on a Georgia plantation during the 1840s. Hammond Maxwell lives on the rundown Falconhurst plantation with his father Warren Maxwell. Although Hammond is ruggedly handsome, he is shy about a childhood leg injury that left him with a pronounced limp. His lack of confidence has forced him to only have physical relationships with slaves instead of white women.
Hammond has an affinity for "Mandingo" slaves. He is willing to pay any monetary value for one he can train as a prize fighter. While searching for his elusive Mandingo, he visits a neighboring plantation. Hammond falls for a beautiful slave named Ellen. In the meantime, Warren is worried that Hammond will never marry and sire a grandson. Warren sets up a love match between Hammond and his young cousin Blanche, whom he eventually marries.
While on a honeymoon in New Orleans, Hammond and Blanche's marriage quickly goes south after he questions her virginity. Hammond finally purchases a Mandingo slave, Mede, in New Orleans. On the way back home, he stops at the neighboring plantation to pick up Ellen to bring her back to Falconhurst; Blanche is obviously incensed. Hammond spends most of his waking hours with Ellen, which causes Blanche to drink heavily. When Hammond goes on a fight trip with Mede, Blanche whips Ellen, which causes her to have a miscarriage.
Hammond's return to Falconhurst makes his marriage to Blanche even more volatile. Hammond leaves again on a slave buying trip, but this time he takes Ellen with him. Blinded by rage and alcohol, Blanche decides to seduce Mede. Terrified and unwilling, Mede is forced to submit because of Blanche's rape threats. After several trysts, Blanche discovers that she is pregnant; she has no choice but to wait until her delivery date to discover the father's identity. She knows if the child is Mede's, it will most certainly spell death for both of them.
After months of nervous anticipation, Blanche goes into labor. To the midwife's shock, she delivers a black baby. She quietly informs her doctor husband, who murders the child. After being told that the baby is stillborn, Hammond insists on seeing his dead son. He is speechless when he sees the dead black baby in the crib. He can only stare at Blanche in disgust as she recoils into the arms of the house slave Lucretia Borgia. She knows that she has just sealed the death warrant for both she and Mede.