The Beulah Quintet has had a complicated genesis. At first, Mary Lee Settle projected a trilogy set in what is now West Virginia. She published the eighteenth century story O Beulah Land in 1956, followed in 1960 by a novel taking descendants of the characters in the earlier work up to the Civil War. After Know Nothing came a contemporary novel entitled Fight Night on a Sweet Saturday (1964). Settle was not happy with the published version of the third novel, however, and furthermore, she wished to take her story back another century in time, as well as across the Atlantic to England, in order to set up the themes that pervaded the trilogy already written. The result was Prisons (1973), whose very title emphasizes the dichotomy between freedom and captivity, which had been important throughout the Beulah novels written earlier. In 1980, Settle published The Scapegoat, which is set immediately before World War I and which, because it involves the battle between landless workers and the owners of land which is being mined, nicely bridges the gap between the three earlier works, with their emphasis on land as a source of wealth, and Fight Night on a Sweet Saturday, a contemporary novel of business and industrial wealth, rewritten and published in 1982 with a new title, The Killing Ground. With this final novel, the Beulah Quintet was complete. The four later books in the series are all set in the same area, and all five of the novels shared the same family and Christian names, in varying conjunctions; the same character traits, appearing in men and in women; the same conflicts; and the same themes, embodied in the changing face of history.