Here are five important events from the novel in order:
- German POWs arrive at a small town in Arkansas called Jenkinsville.
- Anton Reiker, a prisoner who speaks English, approaches Patty Bergen at a stationery counter where she works at her family's store.
- One of the prisoners escapes from the prison camp, and a reporter from Memphis arrives to cover the story.
- Patty finds the escaped prisoner, who turns out to be Anton, hiding in the bushes and trying to hop on a train out of town. Patty hides Anton in her family's garage and procures food for him. Her family's maid, Ruth, does not reveal Patty's secret, and Patty and Anton become friends.
- Anton is caught and shot dead by the FBI as he tries to escape from them. The FBI show Patty the shirt she had given him with a hole in it, so Patty knows that he is dead. Patty, disowned by her family, is sent to a reform school for trying to harbor a German soldier.