Why is Golden Richards lonely with four wives and 28 children? He has allowed himself to fall into a life dictated by his father, his church, and his wives. The crisis in this book comes about when he falls for the common law wife of a very dangerous brothel operator and begins to recognize his dissatisfaction with his current life. After a tragic incident, Golden does start to become a better father and husband. However, the book recognizes the difficulty of actually changing one's life, and the ending is by no means a happy one.