It turns out that Dagone Canyon's flooding is a metaphor, and a harbinger, of the national disaster called the Great Depression that would befall the town in a very few short years.
Into this time is born little Etta Summer. From idyllic beginnings, born to loving parents, little Etta is quickly thrust into a set of tragedies that would eventually consume her and pull her down into a deep depression-into sadness...
...the winter of her life.
Etta's character, though, is stalwart in this time-The Dust Bowl Era-as her life graphically illustrates how the town and its irrepressible citizens deal with the many economic and climatic events beyond their control.
Among them is the Beau family-particularly young Billy Beau-whose strength of character as a young man acts as a strong glue for those whose lives are falling apart. As one townsperson put it, "Billy is one of the finest young men this town has ever produced." Ultimately, Billy's patience, strength, and endurance saves the day when a final tragedy strikes, and all is seemingly lost.
The struggles-and the joys-of a Midwestern small-town and rural life in the Depression era paint a powerful landscape as the town, and its resilient residents, work together...
...to leave the winters of their lives behind, and welcome back their warm and joyful summers.