At first the inbred calves are a burden and embarrassment to "the boy," that is until the local squatters at the little country store begin trying to sell them to a stranger passing through. "Never name a cow," one of the old men tells the boy. Too late; the boy has already named them and is in love with them, especailly the cow he calls Dumdum. Every day the locals watch the boy parade the cows along the main road through Howell, Georgia, and even help him chase them off the railroad tracks when a frieght train rumbles through. Though they dislike the calves as much as the boy likes them, they don't have the heart to see them dead on the tracks.