Strangers aren't well received in the Mutton Hollow neighborhood of the Ozarks. But there was something different about this old gentleman. The cut of his clothes revealed he was obviously from the world beyond the ridges. He carried himself with the unconscious air of one long used to power and influence. His face was marked deeply by pride; pride of birth; of intellect, of culture; but there was more, the countenance of one fairly staggering under a burden of disappointment and grief. No one knew his past, or why he came to the hollow. But his quiet presence was soon to be felt by every family in Mutton Hollow.