As the NY Herald Tribune describes, "All Americans have always been gamblers, sure that nerve and luck would see them through. Once upon a time Mr. Ewell may have been a good bit younger, with fresh decks of cards and he may be getting portly and beneath his fish-tank-green suit. But he still has hope…And Mr. Ewell has, at the moment, one last mascot, an innocent elderly lady who can, without thinking about it, make nineteen straight passes in a dice game. With her at his side he is going to burn up the town, make everyone rich, provide his daughter with the dental care she's needed these long years and thereafter bask in the admiration of all eyes. A slight hitch develops, philosophically and over honestly dealt cards. Las Vegas is a carefully constructed paradise, with creature comforts of every obvious sort available to one and all. The desert blooms with mechanical pleasures. But every comfort, the man who runs the game warns, is designed as one more percentage-point stacked against the individual. As the pleasant little mascot begins to grasp this nettling point, she starts to fret; and the moment she starts to fret her luck runs out, taking Mr. Ewell's confidence with it. Confidence is destroyed whenever an innocent learns what the odds really are." In the end our hero is broke and full of self-doubt, but then the gambling fever strikes his son. The dream has become a nightmare, and the nightmare goes on.