"Paul Kennedy, a minor Washington official on his way to Kansas for the Fourth of July, meets an old army buddy, Speed Scanlin. Speed, a frequent participant at the ractrack, promises to double Paul's money in a short time. Some time and many bets later, the pair find themselves stranded and penniless in Watershed, Iowa. Watershed, they find, is besieged by graft, corruption, and authoritarianism. The inhabitants of the town are plagued by not only corrupt officials but by the local DAR and its farcical interpretations of the ideologies of their forefathers. The town is fearful of an investigation by a 'Kennedy,' and Kennedy and Scanlin are afraid they will be convicted of vagrancy."