The story of a new coach's first year with a rough and tumble, hoodlum-sparked high school, Barkland High in Washington State, as it turns into a battle between a town and a man. When Bill Taylor arrives as the new boys' athletic director, he finds that Barkland has a win or die spirit that brooks no interference. And Bill Taylor, with a naval officer's background of war duty, has the conviction that education comes first. Fortunately, he is strong enough to do battle against Tony Muldoon and his gang who ""run"" the teams, and the sports reporter who is Muldoon's championer, and the school principal who fears that his job depends on games won, and the townspeople who want to win but who fail to insist on their stars sticking to training. Bill's reassessment of the team and the regulations necessarily weaken Barkland's playing power for a period, and Muldoon and his gang sulk and fight back, games are lost, and opprobrium rings down on Bill. Bit by bit, the minority with him turn the tide. With the year's end and a baseball championship in sight, Barkland finds it is honestly enjoying the righting of an unfair victory more than being on the winning side. Good yarn.