The Switchback family has inhabited Crawford County since before the War Between the States, and it has eked out an existence, and even prospered, by virtue of hard work and honesty. Peter Switchback, Jr., is the current inhabitant of the family estate and caretaker of the farm and in many ways stands as a symbolic paragon of virtue. The Morgan family has been in Crawford County at least as long as the Switchback family and has made its way in the world by means of greed, pride, and dishonesty. Sheriff Cecil Morgan is the third in his line to hold his office, and like his ancestors, he is an avowed enemy of the Switchback family and all that they stand for.
The life of Crawford County plays out through the course of short tales told by several of its inhabitants, some tragic, some whimsical. The stories wind their way through the lives of Switchback and Morgan, framed by several ponderings of moral philosophy and existence. We are faced with Peter Switchback's obituary in the opening of the story, and the balance works its way to that eventual outcome.