Meet Jack McGreary, a young man growing up in the faded boomtown of Paradise Flats amid the dust storms and broken dreams of the Great Depression. Raised by his eccentric and increasingly erratic father, Jack has learned to live by his wits. He outplays the local businessmen, out-argues the local priest, and even outsmarts a gang of hardened carnies at a seedy fairground. So when a pair of fast-talking swin­dlers blows through town, Jack joins them. Virgil Ray and Miss Rose are more than happy to lead a young boy astray, and together they go on a raucous crime spree across the American Southwest.
It’s a wild ride, one of jazz clubs and easy money. But when the three of them find themselves caught up in a murder ploy, Jack begins to suspect that he is being set up as a patsy. Are Virgil and Miss Rose playing Jack? Or is Jack playing them?