The action begins on the small farm in South Carolina that Cephus Miles, an orphan, has inherited from his family. Not believing in the Vietnam war, Cephus is imprisoned as a draft evader for refusing to serve. By the time he is released, Cephus has lost his land to the tax collector so he heads north to build a new life. With a good job and a slinky new girlfriend, he finds the big city exciting and rewarding. But soon after, Cephus loses his job and his way. He returns to South Carolina and settles back on the land with his childhood sweetheart. Despite all, he has never lost his joyous goodwill, his indomitable spirit and the conviction that one day his quest for fulfillment will be rewarded.