Crude justice at work- during the progress of the trial of Art Green, house painter, for the murder of his wife. The main characters are Mike, the jailer, ""World Blaise"", gifted but mad, Judge Goodell, a saint in the right place, Sheriff Clay Cole and his no-good son, Tom, Fred Haley, clerk and a bitter little man, Millie, crippled and poor, whom he could dominate, and Olson, prosecutor, who cared more about getting a conviction than justice, and who used his wife's invalidism to excuse his own depravities. More than one form of justice is moted out, as various bite of town happenings unfold, take their places, and influence the pattern of the law. Retribution is given its chance, and punishment distributed. Cross-sectioning of a Dakota small town. Not important.