As the conflict in Vietnam ends, twenty-eight year old Eric Sanderson returns home. He dropped out of college and joined the US Marines to get revenge on the Vietcong for what they did to his best friend, Bennie Parker. Now that it's all over, he finds himself disillusioned, depressed, and haunted by what he had experienced over there.
As he walks through downtown Monroe, North Carolina-his hometown-he meets an old high school classmate, Johnny "Slick" Matthews. After sharing a drink and talking about old times, Johnny gets a phone call from his boss, calling him to a meeting. Johnny talks Eric into going along, thinking his boss, Jake Larson, could use a good man like Eric. Unbeknownst to Johnny, Larson called the meeting to make an example of one of his employees-and Johnny and Eric leave the meeting with a dead man in the trunk of Johnny's car.
They drive west, into the mountains to find a place to dump the body as Larson ordered. But they choose the exact location where a pair of Boy Scouts is set to begin a weekend hike on the Appalachian Trail-and the two brothers observe the men as they dispose of the body.
A young marine is challenged to believe, a teen's obedience to God is tested, and a small North Carolina mountain town is brought to its knees in prayer. Sometimes things go very wrong, but never without God's permission and never without purpose.