A young widower moves with his daughter into a North Carolina mountain town in 1934. He quickly takes up with a young woman with an illegitimate baby. First he must prove himself to her father and her three brothers. He does so first by joining them on a bear hunt and then by designing a clock tower for the small community. Trouble comes when it is revealed that the baby's father is the demented son of a mean clan across the river and they mean to take the child back.