The author of The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man (1965) returns for this Journey to the Tobacco-Road landscape of Cape Fear County, South Carolina, where the depression persists past ""Hoover days."" It's the day of the annual tobacco auction in the New Deal Warehouse. Joedel, thirteen-year-old son of a white sharecropper and an Indian woman, has for the first time some tobacco of his own to sell--a ""gift"" of their landlord. He hopes to pass off the rejected leaves as undamaged and buy a baseball mitt. His father, Clint, worries that it will be discovered and affect his own sale, promised in down payment on twenty acres. Father and son start the five mile trip equally ambitious, but while Joedel wrestles with scruples, his father hardens in determination. The carnival spirit of the market sours for Joedel as he watches a ""pinhooker"" cheat his father and take the consequences in a knife fight. But Clint is exhilarated and deserts Joedel to hit the fleshpots. Buffeted by prejudice and principles throughout the day, Joedel heads home in disillusion. It's an old story of innocence roughly lost, knowledge painfully awakened, and only Mr. Owen's intensely visual detail offsets the obvious. Characterizations are hasty and unfinished, and Clint, offering real potential as the frustrated misfit-by-choice, is left in the suggestive shadows.