A regional novel, Michigan in the days of the homesteaders, with the whole community characters in the story. The plot, such as it is, centers around Gabriel Reed and his determination to win the right to live his own life, a right he maintains although he loses his school because he teaches the children to question, he is ostracized socially because he wont join the church, he loses his girl -- for a time -- because he is suspected of an affair with some cheap carvaners. In spite of doubts, he wins his place, sets up his own homestead, and gets the girl he loves. Good picture of frontier life, with an intimate and sympathetic understanding of the way of life. But it is not, basically, a good novel; the story limps, the characters are unreal.