In order to provide for his destitute family of drifters, a likable, sincere, able-bodied 15-year-old boy comes to hire on among a burned-out ex-con’s group of aging forest laborers. As the man becomes more and more aware of the boy’s abusive home life, his deeply buried humanity is roused. Drinking and smoking incessantly to remain detached from his volatile temper, he finally takes the matter into his own hands – come what may – when the boy’s alcoholic father finally goes too far. When ex-con Joe hires 15-year-old Gary to help clear trees for a lumber company, he doesn’t expect to become a father figure for the abused boy. A loner needs his freedom. An abused teen needs a father figure. Some happy endings are different from the rest.