It’s 1910 and Dan Strickland is a young man on the move in the small northern Vermont village of Granite Junction, which produces more granite for construction than anywhere else in the country. Forced to drop out of high school after his father dies from silicosis contracted at the granite finishing sheds, Dan rises from an apprenticeship at the weekly newspaper office to become both advertising salesman and reporter. He sets his sights on a prosperous future and hopes to marry pretty Camille Upton, daughter of the village’s respected railroad agent who comes to a tragic end.
A longstanding conflict between the village’s two granite titans, George Rutherford and Ernest Wheeler, boils to the surface with a court case. Then several men die in suspicious accidents, prompting Rutherford to enlist Dan in a secret search for Italian anarchists. Dan regains favor with his former high school classmates by procuring illegal alcohol from the dangerous part of the village where most immigrant workers live. His clandestine activities could derail his dreams of upward mobility when he becomes a blackmail target for Bob Blackstone, Wheeler’s right-hand man who despises both Rutherford and the newspaper’s editor who supports him. While the two businessmen eventually move toward reconciliation, Strickland and Blackstone are headed for a confrontation.
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