Grief-stricken following his wife's death in an automobile accident, former cop and ex-railroad detective Benjamin Reed runs away from the tragedy and becomes a hobo. He drifts around the country until one spring morning near a railroad switching yard in a small South Georgia town he encounters a dead teenager who is bound, gagged, and hanging upside down below the limb of a massive tree. Reed stops running. He interrupts his life as a railroad bum long eugh to help the local county sheriff bring the killers to justice. During his successful investigation Reed finds new love and a renewed feeling of being alive, which help him overcome his anguish and quit his life as a hobo.