Sixteen-year-old Maggie Kearns lives in constant fear that her family will disgrace her. Especially annoying are her father's unorthodox political views and his oddly-assorted choice of political associates. He manages to have himself arrested and put into jail as a protest against a tax bill being considered by the state legislature. When the sheriff comes to the house and leads Rowland away in handcuffs while his political associates drink milk toasts to him, Maggie is mortified. The shame and disgrace of it all are nearly more than she can bear. She has another vision in which she sees her girlfriends regard her brother, her father, and his political friends as gangsters. Rowland's tactics are successful, however. The state legislature votes against the tax bill, and he becomes the man of the hour. He is released from jail and brought home a hero. In the mdist of the triumphant gathering that follows, Governor Stillson himself arrives to congratulate Rowland on his great triumph, and the rigid little walls of Maggie's social catechism are rocked. Then when Harriwell Cleeve, president of the senior class, calls for a date, they topple in a heap, and Maggie has taken one more step in "growing up."