powered by AFI
For fifteen years Ty Ty Walden has dug up his Georgia farmland with his sons Buck and Shaw in hopes of discovering gold that his grandfather promised was buried there. Shaw labors cheerfully and without question, seeking happiness in town with local girls while Buck works in frustration, consumed with jealousy that his pretty wife Griselda may still love her former beau, Will Thompson. One day, ice cream truck driver Pluto Swint, who is running for sheriff, visits the Walden farm hoping to work up the nerve to court Ty Ty's youngest and flirtatious daughter, Darlin' Jill. When Pluto learns about Ty Ty's dream of discovering gold, he suggests that Ty Ty consult with an albino, as albinos are known to have special powers of divination. Ty Ty frets about digging up an acre of land he has dedicated to God, but eventually decides that the Lord would understand if he moved the acre closer to the main house. Convinced that he needs help digging, Ty Ty asks to accompany his sons on their weekly trip to Peach Tree Valley to see Will and his wife Rosamund, Ty Ty's other daughter. After Buck orders Griselda to remain at home, the Waldens visit Rosamund, who scolds Ty Ty for continuing his vain quest. She then laments that Will spends most of his time drinking since being laid off from the bankrupt cotton mill. Arriving home drunk, Will nearly provokes a fight with Buck when he reminisces about Griselda. When Ty Ty asks for his help, Will maintains he is not a farmer and refuses to return with him. After Ty Ty and his sons return home, they discover that Pluto and farmhand Uncle Felix have brought Dave Dawson, an albino from nearby Swamp Corner, to help find the gold. Dave is unsure what is required of him but when Pluto explains that the gold hunting is much like looking for water, Dave takes a willow stick and is promptly led to God's acre near the house. Buck points out that if the gold is indeed on God's acre, then, per his father's promise, it will go to the church. After a hasty prayer seeking God's approbation, Ty Ty moves the acre down by the creek and begins digging by the house. In Peach Tree Valley, Will's friends worry that Ty Ty will lure him into becoming a farmer, but Will assures them that he will never work the land, then goes to the empty cotton mill to decry its closure. The following day, Will and Rosamund visit the farm to help Ty Ty and the others. Pluto proposes to Darlin' Jill, who rejects him, saying she may change her mind after the results of the sheriff's election. When Buck becomes aware of Griselda and Will exchanging glances, he angrily sends his wife to the house. Meanwhile, Darlin' Jill becomes fascinated by Dave's uniqueness and that evening seduces him in a rowboat on the creek. After helping dig all of the next day, Will berates Ty Ty and the others for their foolish venture. That night Will meets Griselda by the well and the two declare their feelings for each other. The next day Ty Ty questions Dave about his powers, declaring that he only believes in what is purely scientific. Concerned over the family's near destitution, Uncle Felix pleads with Ty Ty to give up his search and return to farming, but Ty Ty admits he is consumed by a fever for gold. Uncle Felix then suggests that Ty Ty go to Augusta to ask for a loan from his estranged, eldest son, Jim Leslie, who has married into wealth. Ty Ty agrees and takes Griselda and Darlin' Jill along. Jim Leslie receives Ty Ty with scorn, scoffing at his father's dream, yet nevertheless gives him money. Ty Ty is disgusted when Jim Leslie makes a crude pass at Griselda and declares he will pay back the loan to Jim's wife. Back in Peach Tree Valley, Buck attempts to outdrink Will at a local bar and then starts a fight with his inebriated brother-in-law. Worried about Will's obsession to restore the cotton mill, Rosamund pleads with Griselda to accompany them home to reason with her riled husband. After sleeping off his drunkenness, Will insists on returning to the cotton mill the next day. Concerned, Griselda accompanies him and as several townsfolk gather, Will breaks into the empty mill, turns on the lights and starts up the machinery. When Will refuses the guard's orders to move away from the machinery, the guard panics and shoots him, stunning Griselda and the townspeople. At Will's funeral a couple of days later, Buck is enraged when Jim Leslie eyes Griselda. When Ty Ty admonishes them not to fight, but to try forgiveness and to learn how to dream, Buck scorns his father. Jim Leslie then mocks the family for their backwardness, angering Buck, who attacks him. When Ty Ty intervenes, Buck lashes out with a club, but Ty Ty manages to prevent Buck from killing his brother. Stunned, Ty Ty at last realizes how his fantasy has nearly ruined his family. The next day Ty Ty resumes farming with a relieved Buck, Shaw and Uncle Felix. When Pluto wins the election, he and Darlin' Jill become engaged, and Griselda and Buck attempt to begin a new life together.