Maclure of New Harmony follows the twists and turns of William Maclure's intriguing life. A native Scotsman, Maclure (1763–1840) became a merchant, made a fortune, and retired in his early thirties. Then his life became interesting. Fascinated by the study of geology, Maclure did fieldwork throughout Europe before traveling to the United States, where he completed the first geological survey of his adopted nation and published a detailed, color geological map—one reason he is known as the Father of American Geology.
Maclure's travels sharpened his convictions about social justice and led him to a life of social radicalism. He founded progressive schools to educate the children of the working classes and, in 1820, he joined forces with Robert Owen to found New Harmony—the utopian community in Indiana. Ever restless, Maclure later moved to Mexico, where he watched his hopes for the new republic founder.