A murder, the subsequent trial, verdict and punishment, form the prelude for a picture of six months' disintegration in a small mid-western town. The killing of Stoneman, Danfield's leading citizen, is speedily avenged, but the evidence brought out at the trial bring a harvest of distrust, fear, hate, a mounting friction within families, school, church and civic affairs. The town's spirit collapses under the internal cleavages, and the final blow as the new factory is located in a neighboring community instead of in Danfield almost overshadows Pearl Harbor, which -- however -- eventually snaps the town back to normal. During this period John Matthews, escaping the onus of a Dies' investigation, had found solace in fighting isolationism in the local newspaper, but recognized that small communities and large are alike in needing mutual trust to withstand attacks against their security. Eventually he is able to face his own problems, the contribution he can make in the war, and his love for Helen. A good town portrait, though at times it grows over-repetitious. And good contemporary Americana.