As a child growing up in various cities and towns, Britt Rutgers exhibits both acute sensitivity and an insatiable ebullience that expresses itself in rebelliousness against his restrictive parents.
But something profoundly important is missing deep inside.
As he moves into his late teens in the 1950s on a farm near Mayfield, Iowa, his enthusiasm gradually morphs into agonizing self-consciousness, feelings of guilt, embarrassment over sexual naïveté, and fear wrought by his fundamentalist religious upbringing.
His parents have always worshipped the ground that his quietly serious older brother, Kevin, walked on, never finding fault with anything in their obedient son’s behavior. They didn’t just favor him, but placed him in a category separate from Britt and his two younger siblings. Labeled “the black sheep of the family” while growing up, Britt begins to alter his naturally effervescent personality, subconsciously emulating Kevin to gain his parents’ favor. Battling these internal demons, Britt is unable to concentrate and becomes panicky that he will fail his school subjects.
In his senior year in high school, Britt spends an evening bowling with his buddies. Something happens on that fateful Saturday night, and he is about to enter a world of terror.