In the small rural Queensland town of Lawson, where the people are still reeling from the arrival of the 1990s and modernity, surfie teacher Lawrence Lalor is condemned to servitude by the Catholic Education League. From his verandah and the pub, he quickly learns the secrets of life in the bush. While Lawson is just ather dead-kangaroo-on-the-side-of-the-road country town with its streets named after saints, Lawrence is quick to learn that beneath its simple surface, it is a town of depth and deception. Drunken mistakes, accidental friendships, adultery, love, murder and the arcane practice of fish counting lead Lawrence to the discovery that courage and dignity are more rare than precious. Lawrence Lalor's journey through Lawson - the jewel of the west - gouges a scar on his emotional landscape that will stay with him forever.