Tenth grader Randall Chatham gets more than enough of freedom, when he kicks over the parental traces and decides to be independent and live in an abandoned shanty in the great swamp (in the Deep South?) in order to avoid returning to high school. Panthers, poisonous snakes, wild boars and lack of money are not the least of his troubles. Unsavory and uneducated ne'er-do-wells and a tough escaped convict make Ran realize that civilization and education are linked. Characterization of a proud and rebellious boy is well done, but misery in the swampland is unalleviated and becomes a trifle tiresome.