He wants to get away from it all. Despite a satisfying career as chief curator of a museum devoted to the vanished American past, he finds he himself wants to vanish. So with the help of a book on the life and culture of a vanished tribe of Indians known as Bluff-dwellers, he takes up residence in the wilderness of the Ozark mountains, with only a dog for company and only an atlatl - a primitive spear thrower - to provide him with his supper. His few amusements are the playing of tunes on a hair-comb-and-tissue and writing what he intends to be an indictment of modern civilization in his journals. He makes the acquaintance of a young moonshiner who keeps him supplied abundantly with corn liquor. But after six years of this life he realizes that what he is trying to get away from is himself.