It is the segregated, prejudiced South of the 1950s. Nothing worth mentioning has ever happened in the sleepy little agricultural community of Clarendon, Arkansas. Then Rat Cooley discovers a dead body in Cache River early one morning, and with that discovery the town erupts in a timorous series of events that forever changes its slow-paced existence. A young black man is killed when he is discovered having an affair with the teenage daughter of a prominent white family. Trying to solve the crime, local police chief Arch Craft finds himself in a whirlwind of cover-ups, political graft, racial unrest, suicides and kidnappings that threaten to tear the town apart. Cache River is about the breakdown of family and the deterioration of youthful trust and friendships. The story describes the coming of age during a radical, changing era in the South.