A fifteen-year-old on parole learns to like dairy farming and gains a permanent home -- but the stockpiling of good deeds verges on the impossible. Sent to the Edwards' instead of a reformatory, Dan balks at the cows and chickens and dog, gets along with young Jennie and her mother but not with wary Mr. Edwards. He unexpectedly helps the vet deliver a calf, raises the animal himself, then loses her to a cougar. Gradually he grows more competent -- shooting the cougar, saving Mr. Edwards from drowning (crucial work with a boat motor), taking on the heavy jobs. The adoption papers are readied after about four months and then the river floods and what has been better-than-average development of a familiar fictional situation takes still another turn. Returning from saving the cows, he finds his former gang leader and two other escaped prisoners waiting for him to sail them to safety. He skippers but considers how to save the boat and dog and get the convicts where they belong -- which he does, roughly, only worrying that the Edwards misunderstand his motives for going. Undeniably exciting in parts but forced to a dazzling finish.