Between Utica and Binghamton in the latter part of the 19th century, living in ""back of the swamp"", the Bartys were harried by the Hugginses, as were their neighbors, who stole cattle, terrorized the community and who always stuck together. Little Hannah grew up hating them, until Chet saved her life in the swamp and the boy she loved, Simeon, became Chet's good friend but she learned more -- that the Hugginses would never forgive and that they stopped at nothing to blacken her reputation. While she was growing up, especially when one of her suitors was killed, and even after she married Simeon, the Hugginses' vengeance poisoned her name and was the cause of the death of her best friend. But when smallpox struck Hannah got her chance to turn an old enemy into a friend, to find that Chet was loyal even to death, and to see her dreams come true when she could move from the swamp to the ""Road"". Upper New York State local history in unpresumptious terms, this has a definitely regional feeling -- though no flair.