The story deals with a city minister who is upset after his only son vanishes. He leaves his congreation behind to seek his God in the rural setting of the Ozark Mountains. There, he lives as a simple shepherd offering wisdom to the simple yet fine native folk.
He teaches a young woman, Sammy Lane, to become a "sure enough lady" and to learn true wisdom. He struggles against a group of vigilants called the Bald Knobbers.
At the story's climax, he learns his son's true fate even as he is "discovered" by a lifelong friend who has sought him since he left the city. The shepherd learns that his life is linked with those of the people he has chosen to live among.
It paints both an accurate and descriptive portrait of life at the turn of the century in the rural Ozarks. It also offers up a helping of spiritual values that serve to only add to the story.
This report prepared by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy