In this rollicking, rambling road novel of the post-WWII South, Preston Clearwater, a dead ringer for Clark Gable, steals cars and passes himself as an undercover FBI agent. His mark is naive 20 year old bible salesman Henry Dampier, whom Preston convinces to drive the cars to carious paint shops (telling Henry that they have infiltrated a car-theft ring), while Preston follows in his own legally registered Chrysler. Preston undertakes more audacious forms, of crime, while earnest Henry has a reunion with his fundamentalist family, listens to his cousin's scheme to market a new ad gimmick (called the bumper sticker), falls in love with roadside fruit stand proprietor Marlene Greene and even manages to sell a few Bibles along the way. During his hilarious and scary adventures we learn of Henry's fundamentalist youth , and upbringing that doesn't prepare him for his new life. As he falls in love and questions his religious training, Henry begins to see he's being used, that the fun and games is over, that he is on his own in a way he never imagined.