It is July of 1932, and farmers throughout the United States are desperate. Prices are plummeting and a drought is wreaking havoc, causing the Midwest to tumble into a dark hole of misery with seemingly no way out. In the midst of this disaster, Des Moines organizer Al Rieman arrives in Port City, Iowa, to initiate a radical organization of farmers. He decides to go undercover to search for thrashing work in hopes of convincing farmers to join together, unionize, and strike. With help from Lyle, a local teen, Al eventually secures work with farmer John Overholtz.
As Al gathers farmers on his side and pulls together his master plan for a holiday that will block roads, shrink food supplies, and hopefully raise prices, he and Lyle must deal with a rigid judge and his housekeeper; a hard-nosed landlord and her alcoholic husband; an ineffective sheriff and his bitter wife; and a colorful newspaper editor who plays all sides. As if that is not enough, Al has an encounter with a beautiful young woman Helen, who may change his plans for good.
In this novel based on true events of the Great Depression, an uprising comes to fruition that shocks America and changes history forever.