The Grapes of Wrath remade as farce: the sweetly shambling odyssey of a dispossessed Texas family and their truckload of Prohibition whiskey. Hours after the gavel comes down on their wordly goods, the Dawsons--spineless husband Ambrose, calculating wife Ruby, and Ambrose's spunky mother Emily--come upon the corpse of a hijacked bootlegger and his truck full of Highland Glen Pure Malt stashed away in bales of alfalfa. Disagreeing about whether to turn the hootch in to the police or peddle it on the streets for a few bucks, the Dawsons are easy pickings for down-at-heels con-man Lee Vance, who suggests they drive the truck to Kansas City, where his mob connections will boost the price to $50,000. To make the trip, they'll need to take on sozzled auto-mechanic Virgil Lucas, and en route they'll be foiling a bank robbery, shooting their mouths off at a revivalist meeting, discovering an unexpected use for Scotch in auto repair, and preparing to double-cross each other before finally turning the goods over to Lee's buddies in Chicago (not Kansas City--still another wrinkle). Their progress is lackadaisical, but Browne (Pork City, 1988) keeps the wheels spinning briskly, with a lazily one-handed efficiency. A stripped-down pipe dream of Depression picaresque.