Our story unfolds in the Appalachian Mountains during the 1960s. It is fiction but based on actual events that occurred in the lives of three young boys. The mountains during this time period are still very picturesque and teeming with wildlife. The trees are big and strong, towering over the ground as their tops reach for the sky with beauty and vigor.
Clear water carves its way down the mountainside between the ridges, clean, cold and refreshing. It is good and safe to drink.
Pollution is non-existent here because strip mining, or mining of any type, has not been allowed anywhere in this area. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, strip-mining operations will dominate the region.
The lives that our story touches, and the people who live here, are honest and hardworking folk. They cherish the land, treating it as the precious gift it is. One of those families, the Fergusons, still enjoys a simple way of life in these mountains, reminiscent of the traditions passed down to them from generation to generation – from grandparents to parents – over the years.
Three members of this family play a critical role here. They are Denny, Jake and Ty Ferguson, a trio of unforgettable characters who live off the land in this part of the country.
Their home is deep in the mountains in a place called Middle Branch. The Ferguson men are humble and generous individuals, and perfect examples of a clan that still looks and dresses like mountain families from a bygone era.
Little do these men realize, though, that their land is rich in coal reserves and other minerals that greedy corporations and corrupt people will go to almost any length to possess.
A corrupt legal system is in place and operating with impunity against those that get in its way or its friends way. It is led by a proud dishonest sheriff who has a large loyal group of deputies. The sheriff and his deputies operate like they are better than anyone else. The mountain family in our story stand up to this corrupt group for reasons they cherish and hold dear.
At the same time, this tale also catalogues the lives and adventures of three young boys who witness a tragedy: Joe, (me), Travis and Billy. Still, while terrible events explode all around them, these boys will find ways to get into some very entertaining mischief.
“Murder Seen through the Eyes of a Child” is their story.