As miners in hard hats swing pick axes miles underground, the Devil comes calling disguised as a black dust. The dirty soot penetrates deep into the miners' lungs. The first sign is coughing up black phlegm. Then comes wheezing and pain in the chest, and the desperation of being unable to breathe. The Devil tightens its noose around the miners' throats as coal dust invades their chests like a marauding invader that has come to desecrate their lungs. Then, after years of suffering and torture, the Devil claims each victim.
Such is the fate of the coal miner. Not one, not two, but thousands of men suffer the fate of black lung disease. Lied to for a century by the coal companies, pursued by cowardly goons and unscrupulous doctors as the tragedy continues in the name of profit.
Three physicians dare to put their reputations, and at times their lives, on the line to expose the plight of the miners. Doctors Kitchen, McGarrity and McIntosh fight not only for miners' rights but also for their dignity. They try to discover ways of diagnosing black lung disease that can't be dismissed or shamed by the coal companies or their physician cronies. The Devil in the Dust is a story about courage, not only of the physicians confronting the coal companies and their stooges, but the courage of the coal miners to persevere in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.