Nothin's geared for a man to do right"" in the Georgia mountains and Hugh Clabo, youngest in his family, tries to fight his way out of these chains. Learning a little of the world in the Merchant Marine during the war, he returns to Salie and Lute, his sister Georgia and her Episcopalianism, and his brother Earl whose sharp dealings have paid off. He is ready to marry K'thanne when she gets her divorce from his best friend Roy but the red-headed northerner Vivian attracts and possesses him until an accident blinds Salie and a storm kills Lute. With their house condemned by the new right of way, he and Georgia move it to the hilltop, K'thanne becomes his wife and an answer is found but Roy's imprisonment through Earl's fast operating, Earl's arrest on the charge of murder -- of Vivian -- and Hugh is driven to stand on his own, to find Vivian's killer and his own independence. Tracking down Vivian's husband and learning the truth of her death, Hugh himself becomes a killer and is taken by the law. A regional story of truths and trivialities, of feisty folks and tacky folks and mountain men and women, this has an echoing ring of local talk and living, that combines something of Arnow and Caldwell.