The Crawford family, Mom, Dad, and all seven children live at the END OF THE ROAD in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. They are typical of the other families living in the quiet, laid-back town of Hazelgrove, which is made up mostly of farmers. Work, school, church, and family are the most important parts of their lives. That is, except for the Hall family. David Lee Hall, a gruff husband and father, is the closest neighbor of the Crawfords. Physically and verbally abusive to both his wife and sons, he thinks farming is for the ignorant and that he is far superior because he makes moonshine, the crop that "takes a lot less work and gives a lot more pleasure." The grudge-driven year for David Lee begins in January 1949, when R.L. Crawford denies him one of his prize-winning puppies. It ends with a mysterious murder, the second in Hazelgrove in less than a month.