The uncle of an executed murderess relates four stories of his hometown, Oldfield, to a reporter. In the first, an elderly man pursues a romance with a younger woman, even to the grave and beyond. In the second, a wounded man on the run from creditors is rescued by a backwoods hermit who holds the secret to eternal life. In the third, a glass-eating carny pays the ultimate price for looking for love on the outside. And in the fourth, a group of Civil War soldiers are held captive by a household of orphans with strange intentions for them.