Caine Cannon is a family doctor whose practice covers three counties of hill olk in North Carolina's inaccessible Blue Ridge Mountains. Cannon has modelled himself on a life of service similar to Albert Schweitzer's, with whom he once worked in equatorial Africa. Now just past sixty, Cannon is opening the Albert Schweitzer Memorial Hospital in Balsam Grove (N.C.), his greatest dream. Usually, he gets paid in ttles (one time it was three gallons of corn whisky). His reverence for life is dely known throughout the hills and people often greet him with ""RFL, Doc!"" Cannon married for ten years, has four children, but his irregular hours caused the marriage's break-up. He began building his hospital in 1953 and patients would bring tones with them to help build it. The mountain folk have some weird beliefs (a sharpened ax is always placed under the bed of a woman in labor) and their most wide-spread illness is alcoholism. Discussed are several of the doctor's ""character"" patients, their mountain wisdom, including the reasons for the continuing sex lives of octenarian hill people. All in all, the doctor is impressive.