When a sibling unexpectedly inherits his grandfather’s dairy farm, Will O’Shaughnessy turns to selling Fords in rural, pre-World War I southwestern Wisconsin. But over the next two decades, even as his automobile business booms and he raises a family with his true love, Mary, Will yearns to return to farming. Meanwhile, the small town of Ashley Springs weathers the war, the booming 20s, prohibition and the Great Depression. There’s family drama in devastating illness and an estranged, alcoholic brother. Then, as automobile sales plunge in the deepening 1930s economic crisis, Will sees a reason to finally trade cars for cows. But can he convince his wife and daughters to follow him back out of town?
Will O’Shaughnessy has left behind Ashley Springs, and his car dealership, and moved his family to a dairy farm in the hills of southwestern Wisconsin. Now, as the Great Depression gives way to World War II, his daughters are growing up. Neighbors are driving gasoline tractors, but he’s still plowing with horses and milking by hand. Will is living his dream. But challenges bear down. His wife, Mary, insists on taking in their wild teenage niece from Texas. Accidents, unreliable farmhands and weather take their toll. Bills are piling up. He’s wrangling with other dairy farmers about forming a co-op. His troubled, maimed brother Jesse might be back. And did someone purposely set out to sicken his herd? Will is beginning to think that his grandfather was right, that he doesn’t have what it takes to run a farm.
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