Now that James B. Crow's paper mill is polluting the bayou, Grandpa Rare Potter can't scrape a livelihood from his fishlines along the bank, and with Grandma Sary Ann's fingers swollen so she can't sew her quilts, the family is well near indigent. When older sister Dustie comes home from the Factory with a damaged hand, there's no income at all. Crow plans to buy up all the riverside property for a recreation area, but Rare hates all the Crows and his pride won't let him sell his bit, despite their desperate finances. Seventeen-year-old Willie determines to track down a panther, use the $100 reward to buy a motor for his boat and earn, money taking the new tourists fishing. His friendship with the pretty young Crow, Namie Nomie, and Dustie's romance with Crow's employee Rodney ""Prince Charming"" Vining, opposed by Rafe's irascible trigger finger, finally ends the feud when Namie Nomie gets lost in the lake. Told completely in lively dialect, the plot has a natural back, Gods naivete and ebullient (though stereotyped) characters.