National serviceman, Tom Duncan, was a changed man when he returned from the Vietnam conflict. His pompous father, a successful New England fine wool producer, stating that he'd not have the family's good name tarnished any more, banishes his second son to the god-forsaken country west of the Bogan River in northwest NSW after he'd fallen foul of the law one too many times. Far from being the intended punishment, Tom flourishes in the isolated scrublands, more so after school teacher, Samantha Neilson, joins him. When tragedy strikes, Tom acts compulsively, reverting back to a time in his past he had been convinced he'd left behind. When you tread on a snake you can expect to be bitten.