Jack, a recently widowed and retired history professor, buys an old country house. It probably deserves a bulldozer, but Jack is determined to rehabilitate it. He hopes the challenge and honest work will help rehabilitate himself, clearing out and closing painful memories and grief. But the house and the unsorted stuff left in it by the sudden death of the former owner, begin to tell a story. Jack becomes a kind of archeologist, and, with the help of a sympathetic newspaper reporter, gradually reconstructs the house's recent, wrenching, history. To his horror, he finds it relates to his own trauma, which is by no means closed. Instead of being therapy, the house drags him into danger and violence. Personal rehabilitation turns out to be more challenging than he ever imagined.