Encompassing a century of one family's life in Montgomery County, Maryland, this novel is a series of four connected tales starting with a boy's adventure in the Civil War and ending with his youngest grandson's struggles in the 1950s. Seth, the hero of the first story, is unwillingly caught up in Jubal Early's attempt to capture the Capital in the summer of 1864. The boy, who often dreamed of becoming a Rebel hero, finds his beliefs tested and his loyalties divided when faced with very grown-up and dangerous choices. Caroline, the central figure of the second story, marries Seth's older brother after the Civil War and then, after his sudden death, weds Seth himself. She faces joy and despair, tragedies and triumphs, happiness and sorrow as each brother's lover and helpmate. Sammy Williams is Caroline and Seth's youngest, and he isn't sure what life has in store for him until a pretty young woman decides to marry him. He survives trench warfare in France and, almost accidentally, become a successful storekeeper and the father of a large family during the Depression. And Bud, Seth's grandson and namesake, is a rather footloose and carefree young man who takes a long time to grow up as Sammy and Polly's last child. He marries young, loses his wife and children, has trouble holding a job and eventually figures out how to live responsibly.