Sensation-mongering this pinpoints four couples who have become neighbors in a new California housing development 20 miles south of San Francisco and, in examining drives, frustrations, hatreds, strengths and failures of the eight people, ex-rays the typical and atypical climax each achieves. David Martin is an electronics engineer ready for a bigger future which his wife Jean means to see he gets; Herman Kreitzer is an appliance dealer trying to live a Christian life without turning to God and his wife Betty prays that he will; Jerry Flagg, a used car salesman, takes but never gives and has driven Isbel, his wife, deeper into her snarling, hating world; Troy Noon manages a gas station and tries to do the same with his much younger wife, Leola, who is unable to ease the vicious poison that is corroding Troy. When crisis touches each, they give, break or stand firm, and Troy's smashing out at the people he despises leads him to rape Jean, thereby precipitating a choice for everyone and, when David in a brutal fight licks him, a resolution of their lives. A sudden view of a new fringe of civilization where things are too easy, baseless and vitiating this also encompasses sidelights on whither mankind with its new efficiencies and tools, its changing concepts and concerns, and keeps sex -- and sexual thinking --a constant. Sure to offend within gentler circles -- this is trying hard to get itself talked about.