Arthur Dunn is the son of a farmer near a small town in Northern Ontario in the 1930's. Two subsequent babies born to his parents die at birth, and when little Jake is born - and lives - he becomes his mother's favourite. The two boys are very different from one another. Arthur is quiet and not exceptionally smart at school, but solid and dutiful. Jake is attractive and smart, spoiled and not too helpful around the farm. Jake does risky things, and one time his careless behavior leads to a terrible accident. Jake now forever walks with a limp, and Arthur feels guilty because he feels he should have done more to save him from his injuries.
World War 2 breaks out and many of Arthur's friends enlist. Arthur gets rejected because of his flat feet. But at least now his parents let him quit school and he works the farm. He and his father also work the farm of his neighbour, whose three sons were all killed in the war. Meanwhile, Jake is still in school, where he's pretty popular with the girls. Arthur has never had much to do with girls, but when a new girl arrives and becomes their neighbour, he falls in love with her. But Jake 'steals' Laura and when Laura gets pregnant, Jake runs away. Arthur marries Laura, and they eventually have two more children.
The story of Ian, a doctor's son of the next generation ( the 1950's), is interwoven with the story of Jake and Arthur. When Ian is still quite young, his mother leaves with a local teacher and never comes back. Ian becomes obsessed with Arthur's wife, Laura, and in order to be near her, he gets a job on Arthur's farm. When Jake arrives on the farm in a Cadillac, after being away for 15 years, Ian is very much involved in what happens next.
This report prepared by Tena van''t Foort