Hargrett, Texas--a juke box town in burnt out scrub country. Meet some of the folks trapped there in a life which ends long before it's really over: Jesse and Margaret Shaylor; Howie, their son, who's been soda jerking in a drugstore for two years; Laura, their daughter, now graduating from high school and marrying the only solvent citizen around; Miss Cowley, an English teacher, thirty-ish, hitched to a deaf mother. The main burst of activity involves Howie's break from home, with a pimp and his five buck whore, to work the bars across state in a car they've stolen. Howie comes home. . . it's no worse. . . . Atkins' stopoff is just that--since none of this is too well developed beyond the stunted facts of existence in a town such as this--but the confrontation with loneliness and above all changelessness is as prickly as a cactus.