A thinly fictionalized, factually based (no 'count, it's no Cool Hand Luke) and obviously just-as-it was record of the time that Keith spent on an Arkansas hard labor prison farm. He was a hot check passer and with him at the time of his arrest was Violet who not only met the fate worse than death at the hands of the police, but went on to be institutionalized, have 21 exposures to the shock box and ultimately die. Keith however survived his ""fi' years for forg'ry an' another fi' years for utterin'"" not without utterin' even more all the way to the top: ""I have been whipped and stomped, I have had yellow jackets stuck to my rear end, been chased down cotton and pea rows and starved for drink."" He also rode the long line to make the men get the cotton crop out -- from under the snow -- or watched a wooden legged man have his attachment shot from under him and left sticking up in the mud. That's like it was (still is?) at Cummins Prison Farm -- ""hellacious.