The character of the title is Stanley Campbell, publisher of the local newspaper in Harrison, Texas, who has taken to climbing the pecan trees in the Courthouse Square when he is in his cups—which, of late, is most of the time. He also makes threatening phone calls to his brother-in-law, whom he suspects of having an affair with his wife and to a former family friend who embezzled the Campbell inheritance. His antics are borne patiently by his cheerfully resigned mother (who clings pathetically to the belief that there is still much to be thankful for and that her children are well and happy) and by his brother (who holds himself responsible for the loss of the family fortune). However Stanley's wife, Bertie Dee, has had enough of his accusations and drunkenness and has taken to locking him out of the house. And, throughout the play, it is evident that the malaise which grips the nation (the Great Depression of the 1930s) has not spared Texas nor the Campbell family, and while the rich, down-home dialogue of the play abounds in trenchant humor and revealing reminiscences the underlying sense of pain and discouragement shadows all that is said and done—as these are people for whom early promise has given way to defeat and disillusionment and the unsettling realization that they are helpless to reverse their fate.
Filled with moments of poignance and gentle humor, this quietly understated play captures the essence of small-town Texas life during the years of the Great Depression. First produced by New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre, as part of its annual Marathon of New American One-Act Plays, where it earned both critical and popular acclaim.