As in Onionhead (1957) and other novels, Hill's Oklahomans and barefoot boys (here of the '20's) mainly scuff up happy dust, but the built-in certainty that evuhthin's goin' to end neat and slicked down weakens the authenticity. Twelve-year-old Jeff is a middle child, between the accomplished Matt and the ""little wart"" Jody, who was only a cousin, although Jody didn't know this. This is Jeff's summer, highlighted by a mutually profitable alliance with his new friend Vern's convict dad who hid out in the woods. Dogs die and are redeemed, there's a new rifle, a new girl, a phony bank heist, but sorrow comes rolling in when Jody is taken to Kansas by his real father. At the end all things sort themselves out and Jeff lands right side up. Nice kid, nice town, and that's about it.