Fictionalizing events that took place during the Great Depression, Greene describes three tumultuous summer days when preparations for the completion of a reservoir under the direction of the Tennessee Valley Authority that will flood an Appalachian town in the name of progress are complicated by the disappearance of a young girl.
One day before the water begins to rise in the river called Long Man, inundating the town of Yuneetah, Annie Clyde Dodson is one of the few holdouts. Her husband James wants to leave. He has a good job waiting for him in Michigan. But Annie is desperate to see their three-year-old daughter, Gracie, inherit her family’s ancestral land. As a storm takes hold, Gracie is discovered missing, and time is running out.