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Travis Shelton is seventeen the summer he wanders into the woods near his home, discovers a grove of marijuana large enough to make him some serious money, and steps into the jaws of a bear trap. After hours on the forest floor, he's released form the trap by the shrewd, vicious farmer who set it - but his confrontation with the subtle evils that underlie the life of his small Appalachian community has begun.
Before long, Travis has moved out of his parents' home to live with Leonard Shuler, a one-time schoolteacher who now deals a little pot to make ends meet. Travis becomes his student, of sorts, and the fate of these two outsiders becomes increasingly entwined as the community's violent past and corrupt present bear down on each of them from every direction.