Study Guide

In Dubious Battle

In Dubious Battle Summary

Jim Nolan, a young man with nothing left to lose, abandons his boarding house room and makes his way to the office of Harry Nilson, recruiter for the Communist Party. Harry interviews Jim and learns his sad life story: he's endured poverty, a lost sister, a drunk and violent dad, a mom who has checked out, and jail time on trumped-up charges.

Harry determines that Jim will be a good candidate and brings him to a house to meet his new posse: Mac (the brains and brawn), Dick (seducer extraordinaire and procurer of funds), and Joy (zealot and punching bag).

Soon, Mac and Jim are hopping trains to reach the apple orchards in Torgas Valley, California (a fictitious location), where disgruntled fruit pickers have just suffered a major cut in wages. Mac and Jim hope to organize a strike that will carry over to the cotton fields in the South. They have the larger goal of spreading the ideals of wealth equality and justice for workers around the country.

They meet Al Anderson, owner of a local lunch wagon and secret Communist sympathizer. Mac collects info from Al about the workers and heads out to the camp with Jim. Mac pretends to have medical training and helps to deliver the grandbaby of a leader called London. London is mighty grateful.

Jim and Mac begin working alongside the men, hoping to convince them to strike. London introduces Mac to another "boss" called Dakin. This guy's not biting, since he's pretty prosperous, but Jim says just the right thing to convince him and his workers come over to the strike.

Mac and Jim hustle to arrange everything the workers will need when they walk out. They visit Al's father, Anderson, who owns a small farm nearby. Mac convinces Anderson to let the workers camp out in one of his empty fields. He also calls in Doc Burton, a sympathetic physician, to handle issues of sanitation and health.

The whole situation in the orchard pops when old Dan, a cantankerous senior worker, falls from his ladder and breaks his hip. The men's anger at their working conditions boils over, and they walk out.

The superintendent of the orchard meets London to figure out the workers' intentions. He offers Mac and London a bribe, but then threatens them when the men refuse to bite. The workers are evicted, so they pack up everything quickly and move to the new camp in Anderson's field.

The leaders of the strike make plans to intercept the scabs—replacement workers brought in to break the strike—at the train station the next day to "persuade" them to join the strike. Mac and Jim step outside the camp to try to win over the police and nearly get themselves lynched.

The dispirited workers march to the train station while surrounded by hostile police forces. When they arrive, the scabs are hesitating in the train yard—until crazy Joy appears and tries to lead them over to the workers. A random vigilante guns Joy down in front of everyone.

Mac brings Joy's corpse back to camp, hoping to spark the men's anger. The next day, Jim and Sam—a young man with serious striking cred—go out with a group of picketers to confront the scabs already working in the orchards. Things get violent, and Jim suffers a gunshot wound to his shoulder.

Discord grows in the camp. Al's lunch wagon has been burned down, and Al himself has been assaulted by vigilantes. Anderson is not amused. Dakin, who has begun to distrust Mac, winds up in a violent confrontation with police, has his trucked burned, and is imprisoned. Mac gives a stirring speech at Joy's funeral.

Anderson's barn—along with his entire crop of apples and his beautiful doggies—goes up in flames. Mac and Jim notice that Doc Burton is missing and suspect that vigilantes have kidnapped him. Mac encourages Sam to burn down landowner Hunter's house in retaliation for the barn incident. And Mac has to "teach a lesson" to a teenager who has been sniping at the workers with a rifle.

Meanwhile, restless Jim takes matters into his own hands. He orders London to prepare a raid on police road barricades, and he bosses Mac around. Mac fears that Jim is becoming a monster and tells him so.

When the barricade run fails, Mac's utterly disgusted with the workers' cowardice. Burke—another "boss" of a group of workers—publicly denounces London for taking bribes (which he is not doing). London breaks Burke's jaw in front of the workers.

Excited by the violence, the men follow London on foot and smash the road barricades. But they are so worked up that they return to camp ready to lynch Mac for calling them cowards. London intervenes.

A heavily armed sheriff appears at the camp with an eviction notice; Anderson has had enough. Mac tells London that the workers will have to stand and fight—and he taps Jim to help him convince the men. Jim can hardly contain his excitement: this is the chance he's been waiting for all along.

A young boy enters the camp to tell Mac and Jim that he's found an injured doctor in a nearby field. The men think it might be Doc Burton, so they run recklessly toward the spot outside the camp. Shots are fired. Mac reaches out toward Jim and discovers that the young man's face has been blown off.

Mac carries Jim's body back to the platform at the camp, where he displays it for all to see. Mac immediately launches into his rote speech to rally the workers, putting his grief to use for the "greater good."

  • Chapter 1

    • We're introduced to Jim Nolan, a restless young man, as he leaves his boarding house for the last time and heads to the office of Harry Nilson, an organizer for a labor union.
    • Jim wants to work for Harry's organization, but his application has not yet been approved. Harry questions him about his family ties, especially about his father's questionable activities.
    • Jim's dad spent a lot of time fighting and in prison.
    • We learn that Jim's mother has recently died—basically, of despair—while Jim was in prison serving a 30-day sentence for "vagrancy."
    • Before that, Jim had been employed in a department store. It seems that his only crime was witnessing a protest in the city and getting caught by the riot squad.
    • Jim then lost his job as a result and now finds himself kind of dead inside, with nothing to do.
    • Jim tells Nilson that he wants to join the Party because he'd spoken to members while in jail, and they gave him hope. Jim wants to do something that will make him feel alive again.
    • Jim tells Nilson that although he didn't graduate from high school, he's done a good job educating himself. He has read major works concerning social-political systems, so he's primed.
    • Nilson makes it clear to Jim that the work he would do for the Party will be both hard and dangerous. He asks Jim if he wants to use a different name, so that his family won't suffer.
    • But Jim has very little family, and he tells Nilson that he has nothing to lose. Nilson observes that Jim could lose the hatred that's been building up inside him, and that would be productive.
  • Chapter 2

    • Jim stays in Harry Nilson's office until Nilson is able to put him to work. (Remember that Jim has left his boarding house room and has nowhere to live.)
    • Nilson learns about the fate of Jim's unfortunate older sister, May, who disappeared one day when she was fourteen and was never found.
    • Jim tells Nilson that the loss of May changed his father forever, making him an angry man. That started his father's fighting and run-ins with the law.
    • Nilson brings Jim down to the workers' house and introduces him to Mac, who appears to be the leader of the men there.
    • Mac puts Jim to work as a typist. There are two other men in the house: Dick, a handsome young man who charms women into contributing to the cause, and punch-drunk old Joy.
    • Jim soon realizes that Joy is an angry old man, full of fighting words that he thinks will help the workers' cause. But Joy has been beaten so badly that he's on the verge of madness.
    • After dinner, Jim and Mac walk out to mail the letters Jim had been typing. They have to drop them in mailboxes all over town so that they won't arouse suspicion and have them opened.
    • Jim tells Mac that he joined the Party because he had grown up in an atmosphere of defeat and despair.
    • Jim wants something other than hopelessness, and he feels that joining with workers is the way to get his will to live back. The guys in jail who belonged to the Party seemed to have that hope.
    • Since Jim is so efficient with a typewriter, Mac wants him to get involved on the production side of things, learning office work. But Jim wants to get his hands dirty in the fields.
    • Mac wants to cure Jim of his romantic illusions: the field (places where they will agitate the workers to strike) is a dangerous place. And the work is backbreaking.
    • Mac tells Jim about the time when his mother's house was firebombed because he'd had the nerve to make a speech about how the workers were starving.
    • But Jim is fresh-faced and eager, and he won't go back on his wish to go into the field. Mac promises to help him, as long as he hones his office skills, too.
  • Chapter 3

    • Dick returns the house one day while Jim is still working at typing letters. Dick has some disturbing news: Joy has been arrested for stabbing a police officer.
    • Mac goes into crisis mode—Joy has a rap sheet a mile long and will probably be "sent away" permanently—so he begins to mobilize their resources to help Joy.
    • Once the rescue posse is set, Mac tells Jim that they'll be heading down to Torgas Valley (don't bother Googling it: it's made up).
    • The fruit pickers there have just suffered a pay cut from the Growers' Association, and Mac wants to agitate for a strike. He means for Jim to come along and learn from him.
    • Mac explains that most of the orchards are in the hands of a few men and thousands of workers flock there to pick apples during harvest time. Then they move on to cotton.
    • Mac wants to rile up the discontented workers in the orchard so that they'll continue pushing for change on the cotton farms.
    • The workers are even unhappier because they'd spent all their money traveling to the orchards before the growers announced the pay cut. They have to work, since they're broke. But they don't like it.
    • Jim wonders what will happen if the growers just raise the wages. Mac says that a labor dispute that ends too quickly won't be good for the men, since they have to learn to work together.
    • Mac says that a little violence would be extra good, since it will help the men stick together. Then the Party would pay for the funerals and earn the good will of the workers. Yikes.
    • Mac's actually pretty excited about the possibility of federal troops being called up to contain the workers. While the workers would lose, it would be good for the cause in the long run.
    • Mac ends his fantasy version of events in the Valley by telling Jim he'll need some jeans if he's going to work in the orchards and cozy up to the fruit pickers there.
    • Jim is in love with the idea of fighting along with other men. It's different from the trouble that his father got into as a result of his anger.
  • Chapter 4

    • Jim and Mac have to catch a train, hobo-style, to make their way out to the Torgas Valley. They have a slightly hostile encounter with another man hitching a ride and Mac shows that he's really good at bluffing (he pretends to be a prize fighter).
    • Jim has never really spent any time in the country, and he's dazzled by its beauty. Mac observes that Jim has no vices, and Jim admits to it.
    • Jim's especially shy about women—because he doesn't want to get one pregnant and be imprisoned in a desperate and futile life.
    • Jim and Mac change trains to go east toward the orchards. When they get out at the right town, Mac pulls out a list of sympathizers. This is how they will find a free meal.
    • Jim and Mac wind up at an all-night "lunch wagon" run by Al, who is sympathetic to the cause. He feeds Mac and Jim and gives them information about the workers in the field.
    • We also learn that Al's father owns a little orchard and is eager to keep Mac and Jim from hurting their operations.
    • Mac promises not to hurt the little guys, and they set off for the fields.
    • On the way there, Mac and Jim encounter a police officer, who wonders if they are vagrants. Mac behaves politely and they move on.
    • Jim wonders how they are going to get comfy enough with the workers to begin agitating for change. Mac tells him they just have to show up and use what they find.
    • And what they find is that the leader of a bunch of workers, London, has a daughter-in-law in labor out in the fields. Mac steps up and says that he has medical training.
    • Mac orders the men to find materials to help with the birth—white cloth, lamps, boiled water—and mobilizes the whole group. He makes sure the environment is very clean.
    • London is kind of desperate, so he places his trust in Mac. And it works out: Mac is able to help the girl deliver her baby.
    • Afterward, Mac tells Jim to burn all the white cloths (which were really the boiled clothes of the men in the camp)—even the ones that weren't used.
    • When Jim questions him about it later, Mac explains that all the men who contributed clothing had to feel part of the birth—even if their clothes were not used. It's a bonding thing.
    • It also turns out that Mac had never worked in a hospital. He only knew that things had to be clean around a birthing mother and newborn child.
    • Jim is in awe. What if things hadn't gone well? Mac is not particularly worried about the life of the mother or child. He took the chance so that they could be heroes among the workers.
    • Now Mac and Jim have a natural "in" with the workers and will command their respect. Mac is very pleased at their progress.
    • Mac tells Jim that he did a good job assisting him, and that he'll make a good worker.
  • Chapter 5

    • Jim goes to work in the apple orchards and immediately runs into old Dan. He is a cantankerous dude of 71 who wants nothing to do with Jim's talk about cut wages.
    • Dan talks about being a top-faller back when the Wobblies were plying their radical tactics to force employers to behave themselves.
    • But Dan doesn't seem too excited by Jim's talk. He really just wants to give up. He does tell Jim that he senses that the workers are agitated, like water about to boil.
    • Everyone is angry about the double-cross pulled by the Growers' Association with the wages.
    • Dan says that he hopes he's dead before any of it comes to a head. He's just plain tired.
    • When Jim brings his bucket of apples to the checker, the young man comments that he's not getting much done. Jim almost takes his head off, but he cools himself off. He goes back to work.
    • At the end of the day, Jim runs into Dan again. He tells the old man that he shouldn't be working in the orchard, but living off charity if he has to.
    • Dan about kills him for that. He has his dignity and reminds Jim that he used to be the macho top-faller back in the day.
    • He tells Jim that at least the work gives him an identity, even if he didn't really get a share of the profits. Dan is just not falling for Jim's rhetoric.
    • As they approach the eating and sleeping facilities for the workers, Jim and Dan discuss the economic injustice of that system.
    • The workers have to buy food from the company store from their wages—they don't have time to go into town—and it's far more expensive. They wind up eating their wages, really.
    • Dan doesn't really want to hear about how this is unfair. He just wants to eat and go to be alone so that he can get up and do it all again the next day.
    • Jim takes the opportunity to introduce Dan to Mac, who joins them. But Dan escapes quickly to get his food.
    • Mac spent the day working near London and found the man pretty receptive to the idea of a strike. London is going to bring his men over to the idea, too.
    • But Jim has only spent the day talking to Dan. Mac tells him he shouldn't waste his time with old men—it will only lead him to despair.
    • After they eat, Mac and Jim take a ride with London to visit one of London's friends called Dakin, who leads a group of workers in another orchard.
    • On the way, Jim and Mac encounter a private security person who is suspicious of them. But they get through, anyway.
    • Dakin and his family are living a somewhat comfortable life for migrant workers. Dakin has a truck and both he and his wife have some very expensive dental work.
    • Dakin's going to be a little harder to convert, since he seems to have a lot to lose. He doesn't want to spend time in jail and destroy his family.
    • But Jim is able to point out that even if they can absorb the pay cuts in the apple orchards, there is likely more to come when they move on to the cotton fields. Things will only get worse.
    • Mac tells Dakin that even if they lose this battle, it will give the cotton farmers something to worry about—maybe they won't try messing with the pickers' wages then.
    • Dakin is pretty convinced by that argument, even though he still doesn't like the idea of a strike. He promises to bring his own group of men in line when the time comes.
    • When they are in their bunks, Mac compliments Jim on his quick thinking with Dakin. But there's more work to be done, no matter how restless and excited Jim is that night.
  • Chapter 6

    • Hostility brews between the pickers and management. A young picker, Sam, drops some attitude on a "checker" who refuses to give him credit for a bucket of apples that might be bruised.
    • The checker tells Jim that the men are restless, and he expects that they will organize for a strike. He tells Jim that there's a better job for him (and a little extra money on the side) if he schmoozes the pickers and finds out what's going on. Basically, he wants Jim to be an informant.
    • Jim says he'll think about it and goes off to find Sam. Sam is an eager lad—he can't wait to brain the checker with a rock when the strikes start.
    • Jim tries to feel Sam out and find out what the men are thinking. Sam won't say anything specific, but he does tell Jim that the men are restless about the crummy pay and conditions.
    • Jim returns to the checker and tells him that he hasn't got any information, but that he'll keep his ear to the ground for him.
    • When he gets back to the apple trees, Jim finds that the other men are talking about the potential strike. They debate the usual stuff: is it better to make a little rather than nothing?
    • They repeat Jim's argument from the night before (i.e., that the pickers will suffer even more in the cotton fields if they don't strike). Apparently, good arguments travel fast.
    • One of the men Jim speaks with is not crazy about the idea of a strike. He knows people will get hurt, and he has no faith that it will help their wages.
    • Jim seeks out Mac at lunch break, and both men observe that the workers are agitated and gathering in groups to discuss the possibility of a strike.
    • Jim tells Mac about the bribe offered by the checker and asks what to do about it. Mac thinks it would be great if Jim could work both sides of the fence and get a little extra money.
    • Soon, they are approached by a stranger made up to look like a worker. This guy claims that the "committee" has sent him down to get a report on how things are progressing.
    • The stranger tries to set Mac and Jim at ease by calling them "comrades." Mac's antennae immediately go up.
    • Mac tells the guy to take a walk, but the stranger tells them that he's keeping an eye on them. Mac explains to Jim that the stranger is part of the growers' security detail.
    • Now Mac and Jim have a little problem: they've been identified as agitators and will have to be careful not to get beaten to death.
    • Mac warns Jim to be careful who he talks to, since the workers would be likely to accept bribes. Mac tells Jim not to be a hero: if he's in danger, he has to agree to anything.
    • Mac has been working things from his end, contacting Dick for materials. But Jim is restless and wants to take a more active role. Mac promises to use him till there's nothing left.
    • Mac plans to talk to Al, the lunch wagon guy, about using his dad's farm to house the striking workers. Once they walk off the job, they won't be allowed to stay on orchard property.
    • Mac also has to get in touch with Doc Burton, a local doctor who will be able to take care of sanitation issues so that the workers won't get thrown out of their new location.
    • Jim observes that the workers are jumpy and beginning to argue and fight. Mac tells him that he'll have to keep calm, even though he's eager for things to start.
    • Back in the orchard, Jim tells the checker that he thinks the agitation among the workers will blow over. He also tells him that they're mad about some bad food purchased at the company store that made a worker sick—not about the wage cut.
    • But the checker won't give Jim the five-dollar bribe he promised him. Not until tomorrow at least. Sure.
    • Back in the trees, Jim runs into old Dan again. He's still grumpy, and now he's not so gung-ho about the work. He's cold and tired.
    • Jim tells Dan again that he belongs in a charity house, not out in the orchard. This time, Dan doesn't fight with him, especially since he's heard about the strike and isn't too keen.
    • But in the end, Dan is still a hardcore worker and doesn't like Jim's insinuation that he shouldn't work anymore. He says that the strikers are a bunch of whiners who want too much.
    • As Dan tries to descend the ladder with an overfull bucket of apples, the ladder rungs break and send him sprawling on the ground.
    • Dan feels that his hip is broken. Jim tries to manage the crowd of workers that begins to gather around the hurt man.
    • The workers see the broken ladder and begin to fume about the working conditions. The checker appears at this very inopportune moment and barely escapes the hands of the angry workers.
    • The men carry Dan away on a stretcher, leaving groups of angry workers to follow. Mac sees the disturbance and meets up with Jim.
    • Mac tells Jim that the old man has become useful (at which Jim is a little appalled) since he's stirred up the men's anger even more.
    • Mac meets up with London and tells him that they have to move quickly to direct the men's anger. He tells London to call a meeting and get himself elected chairmen by the workers.
    • Mac coaches London on how to secure the vote and then sets out for town with Jim to negotiate with Al about his father's farm.
    • In town, Jim goes to fetch Mac's mail from the post office. There's a letter from Dick reporting that Joy has assaulted another officer and broken out of custody. His whereabouts are unknown.
    • Mac wires to Doc Burton and others for help. Then they head off to speak to Al.
    • Al is his usual, supportive self, but he's not on board with the guys using his dad's farm for the striking workers.
    • Mac uses a combo of friendly persuasion and hostility to convince Al to introduce them to his dad.
    • They all go down to Al's dad's farm to see if they can make a bargain with him. Mac notices that the old man keeps hunting dogs and flatters him by praising the animals.
    • Al's dad (called Anderson) sends him on back into town and then listens to what Mac has to say. He's not immediately impressed with Mac's proposal.
    • But Mac promises that his crop will get picked for free, and that without the other apples on the market from the strike, Anderson's apples will be worth more.
    • Also, Mac has figured out that the members of the Growers' Association (guys called Hunter, Gillray, and Martin) pretty much have the whole Valley locked down.
    • Andersen owes money on his house, and he owes it to these guys. Mac doesn't have to work too hard to convince Anderson that he's pretty much sunk, anyway. Why not stick it to the man?
    • Mac confesses that he is a "red" and a stranger, but that Anderson might as well trust him, since trusting the Growers' didn't work out so well.
    • It works. Mac gets consent to bring the striking workers to an empty five-acre field on Anderson's farm. And with that, Mac and Jim hit the road before Anderson can change his mind.
    • Jim is excited by Mac's success, but Mac warns him again not to go anywhere alone. He knows that the Growers have targeted them and that bad things will happen.
    • And sure enough, they are stopped along the road by a group of men who tell them they need to get out of Torgas Valley. Mac plays innocent and says they're just good taxpayers.
    • But the men aren't buying it. They tell Jim and Mac that they are a "citizens' committee"—vigilantes. And they have no problem killing the two of them if they don't leave.
    • Mac and Jim escape and make it back to the workers at the orchard.
    • Mac and Jim run into Sam, who tells them that London has been elected chairman. Sam gloats over his earlier predictions about the strike.
    • London tells Mac and Jim that Dakin's men are in on the strike, as well as those of a man called Burke, who works in the orchards owned by Gillray. Mac tells them about the use of Anderson's farm.
    • Mac and Jim find out that Dan has had his hip set and is being tended to by the woman in the camp.
    • London reports that they've told the "super" that they won't be back to work in the morning, and they've been given orders to clear out.
    • Mac warns London to tell the workers not to go out alone. He also spills his guts about his concerns for the strike. If the guys stick together, they can win. But if not, all is lost.
    • After the meeting with London, Jim and Mac crawl off to catch some sleep before the move to Anderson's farm in the morning.
  • Chapter 7

    • Dick and Doc Burton show up at the orchard in the morning. Dick is dressed to impress, and Mac provides him with a list of local sympathizers who will donate to the cause if asked.
    • Mac asks Doc Burton to head over to Anderson's farm and lay out an orderly camp for the workers. The goal is to keep order and sanitation under control so the authorities can't oust them.
    • Mac has decided that Dakin should be general chairman of the strike committee—the "boss-in-chief"—but he has to convince London that it's a good idea. And he does, because London concedes that he has a bad temper, and what they need is a cool head.
    • The superintendent shows up with two armed guards and wants to speak to London. London lets him in the tent, but tells him to leave his goons outside.
    • The super tries to convince London that Mac and Jim are "reds" and don't really care about London and the workers. They just want to stir up trouble.
    • But London sees through the super's words. He asks if they'll cut the wages they're asking for if he asks the "reds" to leave. Of course not, says the super.
    • But the super is willing to offer a bribe: get the workers back in line and there's a better job for London and some money for Mac and Jim. Otherwise, they'll be kicked out and "escorted" by an army of deputy sheriffs. And the growers will make sure that the workers can never get other jobs. Ever.
    • Mac lets all of this sink into London's brain—but not for too long. He tells London they should hold a meeting and see what the guys think of the super's offer.
    • The super knows he'll be strung up by his heels if his offer gets out, and he flares up. But Mac puts him back in his place by telling him about the Anderson farm.
    • Mac also tells the super that the workers will burn their farms to the ground if anything happens to Anderson or his farm.
    • The super calls "threat of murder" on Mac, but Mac points out that the super has no witnesses to it. Bam.
    • After the super leaves, Mac riles up the crowd of workers by telling them about the bribe offered to London. That energizes them for the move to Anderson's farm.
    • There's anger in the air as the men work together, but there's also energy and a kind of joy. Mac addresses the committee in London's tent and tells them of the need for discipline among the workers.
    • But the committee members balk: they don't like the idea of military-style leaders of "squads" and don't think the men will respond well.
    • Mac insists that they'll have to have leaders, anyway, or the strike will fold because of fighting. Also, the men will be fighting their own war—not someone else's—so they'll respond better.
    • In the end, Mac convinces the men of the need for discipline. But then there's the matter of Jim. He's been right by Mac's side, but not doing much. He's getting restless.
  • Chapter 8

    • The men do agree on the need for squads and leaders among the workers to keep order on the Anderson farm. They make the move, escorted by a whole lot of deputies.
    • The men get to the farm unscathed and manage to pick Anderson's entire crop of apples by the end of the day.
    • Dick also has success and sends provisions to the new camp. Tents go up and the workers make a little city out of the five-acre field.
    • Armed deputy sheriffs line the road in front of the camp and wait for any of the workers to make a bad move.
    • London and Mac meet with Dakin and another leader, Burke, in Dakin's spiffy tent. They discuss their progress and the need for security.
    • Mac reminds the men that the hard work is ahead, since the scabs—replacement workers—arrive in the morning. They plan to sneak off the farm in the morning to meet their train.
    • The strikers will try to bring the scabs over to the cause—or beat the snot out of them so they can't work the orchards.
    • But the sneak attack will only work if the strikers can keep their plans on the down low. Mac is concerned that there might be an informant among the workers.
    • Mac tells Dakin and London to be careful with information. They won't tell the workers about the plans for the morning until right before they leave.
    • We also learn that not only did the workers get all of Anderson's crop in quickly, but they're also poaching some apples for him from the nearby orchards.
    • Outside the tent, there's a ruckus. The cops say that some of the workers threw rocks at them. While Mac really does want them to start shooting (it's good for public opinion), he can't have that right now.
    • London gives his men a tongue-lashing and sends them packing. Mac notes that everyone, including the armed deputies, is scared.
    • Jim and Mac head into the camp to find Doc Burton. Doc tells Mac that he can't figure him out: Mac seems like a shape-shifter of sorts, changing his speech to match that of his audience.
    • Mac tells Jim that he's not playing a part or lying: he just catches the local speech naturally. Plus, it's good for business. If you can talk like the locals, they'll trust you more.
    • On the other side, Mac says he doesn't understand Doc. Doc isn't a Party member, yet he still helps them at his own expense.
    • Doc tells Mac that he believes that the Communist Party exists and all that, but he doesn't want to label it as "good" or "bad"—he wants to observe so that he can have a more accurate picture. Mac tries to convince him that the action of the Party is about social injustice and how to correct it.
    • But Doc says there is physiological injustice in the world, too, in the form of disease. Communism isn't going to fix that. Mac calls him on this. Men cause social problems; not germs.
    • Doc doesn't think there's much difference. But he's interested in the "group-man." Just like a group of cells that attack an infection, group-men (i.e., mobs, pickets) try to attack a problem.
    • He believes that men in a group are not like a man by himself: they're like cells in an organism. Doc is interested in this and wants to observe the mob. That's why he helps. He's particularly interested in Communism because the group-men gather under a "standard" of ideology. And yet, they don't really care about Communism or any cause or anyone connected with it. At least, that is his theory.
    • Mac gets pretty annoyed by Doc's ideas. He feels that he is a stand-out man—not part of the unthinking group at all, because he directs things.
    • But Doc is unimpressed. He calls Mac a cell with a special function (i.e. an eye cell) that can both give and take orders. But he's a cell all the same.
    • Doc isn't convinced that this is the way things are with group-man, but he feels that the idea must be explored. Mac can't stand this theoretical way of speaking about hungry men.
    • Mac's utterly practical. He wants to get things done. Doc realizes that there's no point in speaking theoretically to a practical man, but he does note that practical men get in a lot of trouble.
    • Mac says they don't have time for "high-falutin' ideas"—and Doc says that failure to consider things on a higher level destroys their chances of success.
    • Mac basically tells Doc to shut up. After they leave Doc at his tent, Mac tells Jim to disregard what Doc had said. Jim tells him that he wasn't listening, anyway.
    • Mac explains that the cops outside the camp have been trucked in just to manage them: they're temporary workers with a newly pinned badge.
    • Mac wants to see if he can win the cops over. But this is a mistake. As soon as they step into the road, the cops recognize them. They pull their guns and march Jim and Mac along the road.
    • Things look bleak for the boys. The cops already know about their plan to sneak out in the morning and harass the scabs.
    • The cops tell Mac and Jim that they're taking them to the "Vigilance Committee" for schooling. That means a beating—or perhaps a lynching.
    • But Jim decides on action. He trips up his captor and yells for Mac to get away. After some dramatic shuffling, Mac and Jim escape and make their way back to the camp.
    • Mac and Jim meet Dakin, and Mac tells Dakin that someone has already snitched on them—but they can't figure out who.
    • Dakin thinks that Mac and Jim are nothing but trouble at this point and wants to know what they are getting out of the whole deal. Mac says they're getting nada. Dakin doesn't trust this.
    • Mac tells Dakin that he'll just have to trust them if they want help—or put it to a vote. This seems to work on Dakin and they move on to the problem of their broken plans.
    • Mac says they should just march out in the open to the train station to meet the scabs and take their chances.
    • When they leave Dakin, Jim asks Mac if he had been frightened when the guns were stuck in their backs. Mac surely was: vigilantes are bad bad people to run into.
    • Mac also tells Jim that they really have no chance of winning the strike. The Valley is organized too well against the workers. But it's a beginning, and the idea will spread.
    • Jim says that Harry Nilson had been right at the beginning of the whole thing. He'd said that everybody would hate them.
    • Mac agrees and says that that it is the hardest part of the job. He goes one step further and says that their own side would kill them if they won. And he leaves it at that.
  • Chapter 9

    • In the morning, the camp in Anderson's field comes alive. Dakin calls a meeting of the squad leaders and tells them the plan. They'll meet the scabs and try to talk to them. If that doesn't work, they'll fight them to keep them out of the orchards.
    • The men set out along the road toward the train station and the deputy sheriffs keep up with them. The workers seem subdued, and Mac thinks they're in trouble—there's not enough anger.
    • Mac tries to rile the workers up a bit by telling them that the police think they have the right to strike but not to picket. It doesn't really work.
    • Things go from bad to worse when the men reach town. People stare at them from businesses and houses, and now the workers feel ashamed.
    • When they reach the train line, the men find it guarded by armed police. Things are tense, and Mac and Jim wonder if they will miss out on their chance to confront the men.
    • Mac notices the buildings across the way from the train line. There are men peeking out of the windows, but something about it doesn't seem right. For one, there are no women.
    • The strikebreakers then arrive on the freight trains, but they don't make any moves to disembark when they see their welcoming committee.
    • London defies the guards to step forward and call out to the strikebreakers. He asks them to join the workers instead. Unfortunately, the trains make so much noise that London can't be heard.
    • The strikers get restless and the cops raise their shotguns to warn them. And at that moment, crazy old Joy bursts out of one of the freight trains.
    • Joy raises his arms to motivate the scabs to join the strikers—and some of them actually listen to him. They move toward the line of strikers. At that moment, three shots ring out.
    • Mac sees rifles being pulled in through the windows in the buildings across the way. Joy has been hit and dies moments later.
    • London moves forward toward Joy, and the guards raise their guns again. But this time, the workers are motivated. They don't care about the guards and their guns.
    • Mac tells Jim that Joy has finally done something useful—and that he'd be happy. It's an awful thing to say, but it appears to be true.
    • Because now, the strikers and the scabs are gathering around Joy's body. Mac tells Dakin they've got to take Joy's body back to the camp.
    • They've got to use his death as material for their cause. Dakin is disgusted by this suggestion, but Jim convinces him that Joy wanted to help them.
    • Mac, London, and Jim collect Joy's body from the ground. Joy is so little that London picks him up like a baby and heads toward Dakin's truck.
    • The sheriff tries to claim Joy's body—and to claim that the strikers shot him—but London won't have it. He accuses the sheriff right back.
    • London tells the sheriff that he'd better get his men out of there, or they're going to get killed. The workers are mighty angry now.
    • The sheriff backs off but promises to get them in the end. Mac tells Jim that Joy was killed by vigilantes who went too far.
    • Mac tells Jim more about the vigilantes: they're men who think they are patriots or protectors of the constitution, but they really are just in it to lynch people they don't like.
    • Jim begins to feel sorry for Joy, who reminds him of his own abused father. But Mac tells him not to worry about Joy: this kind of death would have pleased him.
    • Mac figures that some scabs came over to their side, but not all. Also, some of the picketers ran away, so they have about the same number of people as when they started.
    • But the strikers are "waking up," and that's a good thing. Mac is still doubtful of a victory, but they've got Joy's funeral to look forward to, and that should motivate the workers more.
    • Doc meets them at the camp and sees the dead man in London's arms. They bring the body to Doc's hospital tent, and it's only then that he sort of recognizes Joy.
    • Doc tells the men that they will have to release the body to the coroner, but Mac is sure they'll be able to get it back for a funeral. He directs men to build a platform for it.
    • Dakin is still disgusted that Mac is trying to capitalize on Joy's death, but Mac tells him that they have to use what little resources they have to fight.
    • London promises to make a speech at Joy's funeral, since Dakin won't. And now Mac has to deal with Anderson, who is freaking out about the whole situation.
    • Anderson tells Mac that some men burned down Al's lunch wagon and broke Al's arm and ribs.
    • Mac tries to soothe Anderson, but he's pretty riled up. In the end, Mac has to remind him where to direct his anger: at the perpetrators.
    • Mac also promises to set up a guard at Anderson's house and to send Doc Burton to Al. Mac reminds Anderson, too, that he was going to lose his farm to the growers at any rate.
    • Mac asks Jim if he's still so gung-ho about the Party now that all of his romantic notions have been shattered. But Jim seems to be holding up okay.
    • As the men make their way to dinner, the coroner shows up and demands Joy's body. Mac tells him where to find it, and the coroner is astonished that he doesn't have to fight anyone for it.
    • Mac and Jim get some pork for dinner and see that the cooks aren't able to cook the meat all the way through because the men are too hungry.
    • Order is falling apart somewhat in the camp at this point.
  • Chapter 10

    • Things are not much better in the a.m. The workers need to work, and sitting around is just making them dispirited.
    • Mac knows that if the workers don't move, they'll start fighting each other. He asks London to get Dakin to make the men picket.
    • Jim is very eager to get in with the picketers, as Mac promised he could. Mac would rather keep Jim by his side, but gives him permission to go.
    • Mac tells Jim that Dakin might have been a bad choice for boss-in-chief. It seems that Dakin has too much to lose (like his shiny truck), and doesn't really have his heart in it. He concludes that they should try to get London in as the head honcho.
    • Jim goes off with about 50 men to picket the orchards. Sam is with them and acts as their leader. We find out that Sam was with the longshoremen on Bloody Thursday in San Francisco. He's into fruit now because he'd been blacklisted by all the U.S. shipping companies.
    • When they get to the orchard, Sam spots some apple boxes down one of the rows. Some of the scabs are trying to work secretly.
    • Sam leads the men down the row and tells them not to gang up on the scabs right away. The checker meets them—he has a shotgun at his side—and asks if they want to work.
    • Sam speaks to the scabs and asks if they want to come over to their side and strike. There is a tense standoff between the picketers and the checker, during which the checker takes up his gun.
    • Sam tackles the checker and disables him—and then the picketers attack the scabs. Jim manages to take down one of the scabs by throwing a rock at him.
    • The men beat the scabs pretty soundly—body parts are hanging at awkward angles—but Sam demands that the picketers not kill anyone.
    • But then the big guns come after the picketers. They run for cover, but Jim takes a shot in the shoulder.
    • Jim's also badly shaken by the violence. Sam helps him along back toward the camp, but the police are already on their way. The men have to hide in the ditch along the road until they pass.
    • When they get back to the camp, Mac is blazing mad that Jim has been hurt. He believes he should have kept Jim by his side.
    • Doc Burton tends to Jim's wound, which isn't as bad as it could have been, and tells him to chill for a couple of days.
    • Jim tells Mac what happened out at the orchard. It's clear that Jim is affected by the violence, and Mac is quick to point out that the violence is necessary.
    • Mac also tells Jim that Dakin has suffered two losses: his truck and his boss-dom.
    • Vigilantes waylaid Dakin on the way in from town with a load of blankets for camp and destroyed the truck. Dakin lost his composure and humiliated himself in front of the men. Plus, he was shot in the leg. When the cops picked him up, Dakin assaulted them and is now in jail. London will get the vote from the men now.
    • Meanwhile, food runs low at the camp. Dick has not sent any food for the day, and a crisis approaches. Still, the men have more energy now after the confrontation.
    • Jim tells Mac he has to chill: he's worrying about everything in the world—first the food, and then the weather (it's clouding up). Mac doesn't want to lose the strike.
    • Jim reassures Mac and pulls out some of his learning to support his ideas. He tells Mac about the Battle of Salamis.
    • It's the Greeks vs. the Persians, and the Greeks are having a bad time of it. Their ships are caught in the harbor, and the men want to retreat.
    • The Greek Admiral sends word to the enemy to press the Greeks even harder—and when they do, his men have no choice but to fight. And they win. Spectacularly.
    • Mac likes this story and files it away for another day. He also laments that the student is doing the teaching.
  • Chapter 11

    • The food is running low, and the men basically have nothing but beans and pork grease to eat.
    • Mac and Jim head over to London's tent (Dakin's wife has struck camp and left) and find him eating from a private stash of canned food. He offers to share.
    • Dick shows up with a newspaper that reports the supposed goodwill of the orchard supervisors: they mean to send food to the strikers.
    • Mac knows that it's actually a tactic to starve them out. They won't send food, and sympathizers in town will assume that the strikers have all the supplies they need.
    • Dick needs London to write a letter telling the truth about the food situation in camp. Mac writes it for him and signs London's name for him as well, with London's consent.
    • Mac tells Dick that the man killed at the railroad station was old Joy. He tells Dick that they will have a funeral for Joy the next day.
    • London is worried about making a speech at the funeral, and Mac tries to coach him.
    • Doc appears and suggests that they go to visit Al. London sent an unwilling guard up to Al's house, but they haven't checked on that yet.
    • Mac questions Doc on the way to Al's: Why is he there? Doc doesn't believe in the Cause, so what's the deal?
    • Doc tells Mac that he believes in men, and that he feels the need to help when they are ill or struggling. It's his purpose in life.
    • When the men arrive at the Anderson house, the guard doesn't challenge them. They find them lounging in the barn, smoking ciggies.
    • Mac gives the guards hell for slacking and sends them out to try again, but he knows they'll be back in the barn after a little while.
    • Back at the house, Mr. Anderson is not too happy with the way things are going. And Al can hardly move with all his wounds.
    • But Al is pretty fired up, and he wants Mac to bring him an application for the Party. Mac asks him his reasons for joining, and Al remembers the cop who stood by and watched him get beaten.
    • Mac thinks it's ironic how the Party gets a surge in applications whenever men are beaten and the authorities turn a blind eye. He promises to bring an application to Al as soon as he can.
    • Anderson says he plans to move the apples from the barn in the morning and Mac promises to find guards to ride on the truck.
    • Jim and Doc chat while Mac goes to take one more look at the lazy guards. Doc can tell that Jim is happy, despite everything. Jim agrees: he's happy for the first time in his life.
    • Doc explains that he feels something like Jim's solidarity with the working man around the world—only he feels it for men who do stupid things and die for it. Prophetic?
    • Mac returns. Doc says he feels sorry for Anderson, since it's clear that he will lose everything. Mac tells him that Anderson is just a sacrifice for the cause and can't be saved.
    • Doc doesn't judge Mac for this harsh assessment, but he worries about Anderson's feelings. Mac tells him that feelings don't matter—there's bigger stuff at stake.
    • But Doc doesn't give up right away. He tells Mac that Anderson isn't like Joy: Anderson doesn't like any of this. Mac tells him to knock it off. Doc's theories of human emotion bother him.
    • When the men reach the camp again, a truck pulls in and delivers Joy in his coffin. The coffin is deposited in London's tent, much to Lisa's (London's daughter-in-law) dismay.
    • Mac suggests that Lisa and her husband sleep in the hospital tent while Mac and Jim stay with Joy's corpse in London's tent.
    • After the young couple leaves, Mac takes the lid off of Joy's coffin to have a look. He wants to figure out if they should have an open coffin at the funeral to stoke the crowd up a bit.
    • But Joy looks clean and calm, which is of no use to their cause. Mac closes up the coffin again and decides against a display.
    • Mac eulogizes Joy a little, saying that he never wanted anything for himself. Joy didn't understand why people had to go hungry while others threw perfectly good food away.
    • Mac ends by saying that Joy was not a "poor little guy"—he was bigger than himself, part of a larger cause. London is so impressed by this speech that he asks Mac to speak at the funeral.
    • But Mac knows that the men want to hear from their boss, not from him. He tries to coach London again on what to say.
    • Mac hopes that the funeral will rile the crowd and incite them to violence. Doc doesn't understand this thinking.
    • Rain begins to fall and soak through the tent. Mac worries that this will literally dampen the spirits of the men even more.
    • Jim tells Mac not to worry: sometimes miserable men fight even harder. We learn that Jim's arm isn't healing as it should.
    • Despite the rain, the general misery and the coffin in the middle of the tent, the men finally fall asleep for the night.
  • Chapter 12

    • In the morning, Doc comes to tend to Jim's wound. He says that old Dan is angry about missing the funeral. He feels that he's the one who started the strike and should be involved.
    • Jim wants to go into town and try to help Dick find some food, since they are running out, but Mac won't have it. He knows that Jim is a marked man, and it's too dangerous.
    • But Mac also doesn't want Jim to walk in the funeral procession through town, since he's still too weak from his wound. Jim doesn't like this at all.
    • Mac sends Jim to do some busy work: he has to talk to the guys in the camp and see how they're feeling about the strike. But first, Jim has to visit Dan in the hospital tent.
    • On the way, Jim runs into Lisa, who is still nursing her baby. She tells Jim that she nurses so much because it feels good. Then she immediately regrets telling him.
    • Jim breaks away from the small talk with Lisa and gets to the hospital tent. Dan is in a bad way and as uppity as before. He gives Jim hell for abandoning him after the accident.
    • Dan complains that he's going to get left behind when everyone goes to Joy's funeral. Jim tells him that he can ride in the procession, right up with the coffin.
    • Dan is pleased as punch by this and simmers down. He wants to have his chance to lead the men.
    • When Doc returns, Jim asks him if Dan is going crazy. Doc tells him no: poor guy is in shock and needs an enema to clean him out. Eek.
    • Jim moves through the camp and tries to talk to the men. He meets up with a group of guys and starts talking about Joy's funeral. There's a man in the group who is especially discontented.
    • This man wonders what London is getting out of the strike, and implies that he's getting paid for it. Another man in the tent who knows London practically attacks him for the slander.
    • But the guy keeps it up. This time, he's trying to scare the other men by saying that the scabs have weapons and are going to attack. He also says that nothing will change as long as the "reds" are in the camp, and that Doc Burton is a red. And that's all that Jim and London's friend will take. The guys run him out of the tent.
    • Jim realizes that the guy is probably a plant sent in by the owners. He was sent to make the men unhappy about the strike and its leaders.
    • Jim tries to encourage the other men by saying that they need to stick together not just for themselves, but for all the workers in the country. It seems to work.
    • Joy's coffin is brought out of London's tent and set up on a little platform. But London is still sweating about the speech he has to make. He begs Mac to do the talking, but Mac won't.
    • Mac tells London that he'll help him along if he screws up the speech. And London kind of does. He manages to repeat a few things that Mac told him, but the speech is brief and non-inspirational.
    • Mac can't waste an opportunity like this, so he takes over. He reminds the men that Joy was called a radical because he believed that every worker deserved to eat.
    • Mac tells about Joy's sufferings, about how he was never helped when he was wounded because he was a "red." And then he tells the men that Joy suffered for them, not for himself.
    • It seems to do the trick. The men are pretty riled up, and they file behind the coffin for the long walk through town and up to the cemetery.
    • Doc is impressed with Mac's ability to work a crowd and asks him where he learned how to do it. But Mac is really in no mood for chatting. He tells Doc that he just feels it.
    • Doc tells him that Dan has decided not to go on the procession, since it is too painful for him to move.
    • Mac tells Jim to get in the truck with the coffin, even if he doesn't like it. The pallbearers are riding so that it won't look strange to the other men that Jim is there.
  • Chapter 13

    • The funeral procession is met by motorcycle police who say they are honestly just there to conduct them. They make their way through the business district.
    • The parade reaches the cemetery in safety. A young man arrives with a note from Dick to Mac: he's secured some beef and beans for the men, but they have to come fetch it right away.
    • Mac and Jim take a truck with some guards and head out to the farm. They have to be careful not to attract the attention of the police or the vigilantes.
    • A cop follows Jim and Mac to the gates of the farm, but not beyond, since it is private property.
    • The two cows and a calf are alive and have to be slaughtered. Jim knows how to do it but can't because of his arm. He gives directions.
    • On the way to the camp, the cop follows Mac and Jim at a distance. Mac gives directions to the driver to take the long way there, so they can avoid attracting attention in the town.
    • Mac and Jim bring the haul back to the camp, and everyone is excited—they haven't eaten in a long time. Jim, however, is in pain and needs Doc Burton.
    • Jim waits on the mattress in London's tent with Lisa and her baby. Doc appears, but he's got a lot to do and enlists Lisa's help to clean Jim's wound.
    • A man called Bolter arrives at the camp to negotiate with London. He's "fancy"—dressed in a suit and driving a shiny car. He is the new president of the Growers' Association.
    • Bolter's there to offer an olive branch: come back to work, and the Growers' Association will forget all this happened. But London and Mac aren't biting. They need their raise.
    • Bolter pretends that he's on the workers' side and that he'd like to clear up the mistakes of the previous administration.
    • Bolters offers the workers 20 cents (they got 15 before). It's still not enough to cover the pay cut, and London won't have it. Bolter turns on them and gives them a speech about American Labor. He also tells them that he's worked hard for everything he's got, and that he feels the "radicals" are just poisoning the fruit pickers. And it's un-American.
    • Bolter thinks that the workers would accept the offer if London would put it up for a vote. London tells him that the workers would probably rip him apart physically.
    • At that, Bolter gets scared and decides it's probably time to leave.
    • Bolter tells Mac and London that the Growers just want to settle things peacefully (despite the vigilantes), but they'll gladly ask for federal troops if necessary.
    • Sam loses his mind at this and tells Bolter about the violence on Bloody Thursday. London has to punch Sam to get him to calm down.
    • Bolter tells London that the "reds" among them are professional rabble-rousers, paid to start trouble. He says that they want peace and to give the men their jobs back.
    • But London tells Bolter that three of their men have been killed, their property has been destroyed, and their food supply has been cut. How is this peace?
    • Mac steps in and gives Bolter a piece of his mind. He tells Bolter the strikers can still make things uncomfortable for the Growers (he cites the routing of the Bonus Army in 1932).
    • Bolter calls Mac a "red" and tells the others that they'll be going to jail together. Mac reminds him that they have supporters and will riot if necessary.
    • Mac and London escort Bolter out of the camp so that the workers don't harm him, and London reports to the men the outcome of the talks.
    • Doc tells Jim that he is unhappy about the whole situation. The ugliness of the strike is making him feel lonely. He can't just think of the end result, like Jim.
    • This makes Doc philosophical. He proposes that mankind must hate itself. Jim says its filthy capitalism that men hate, but Doc tells him that the "other side" is only made up of men.
    • Burton wonders what Jim will get out of the strike, if anything. Jim absolutely does not care. He's doing something, and that's all that matters. But Doc wants to know how he got that way.
    • Jim tells him that he's not lonely anymore (as Doc is at that moment). He's part of a greater movement, a larger whole. So his individual life doesn't matter as much anymore.
    • Jim is pleased because he isn't like his dad, who used to fight alone and get beaten. Jim says that he is "more than himself."
    • Doc thinks this is nonsense; Jim thinks Doc talks too much.
    • Mac returns from telling the men about the meeting with Bolter and reports that the strikers are wild. But Doc has another problem: he's running out of supplies, like disinfectant.
    • Doc also tells Mac that he is lonely, but Mac only interprets that as the need for a woman. He tells Mac and Jim that he'll go and check up on Al.
    • Mac tells Jim that they'll send out squads of picketers in cars to break the police barricades. London returns and asks Mac to 'fess up: are they really reds?
    • Mac tells London the truth and has to convince him that he's not being paid to start trouble. London believes him when he says that he's just working toward solidarity among workers.
    • When London and Mac leave the tent to fetch some dinner, they notice a light coming from Anderson's house. But it's no light: it's a fire.
    • By the time the men get there, the barn is already engulfed in flame. The entire crop of apples is going up.
    • There's a bigger problem: Doc is missing. No one seems to know where he is.
    • Sam has decided to burn the house of Hunter, one of the orchard owners, in retribution. He tells London and Mac that he's doing it on his own.
    • Sam promises that if he gets caught, he won't say that London sent him. He also tells London to disown him if the police come asking questions. Mac encourages Sam's viciousness.
    • Jim doesn't think that Mac should have encouraged Sam. It was too personal—not about the cause. They start to fight, but then they turn to the problem of Doc's disappearance.
    • Mac thinks that the men who started the fire were surprised by Doc and kidnapped him.
    • Camp guards show up at London's tent. They've caught a high school boy with a gun lurking around the edges of the camp.
    • It turns out that the boy was acting on some talk in school, that somebody ought to do something about the strikers. Mac decides to make an example of the boy and coldly beats him.
    • London is kind of horrified by Mac's cold and calculating behavior. Mac says he couldn't have done it without Jim's silent encouragement. He says that Jim is even colder than he is.
    • Mac starts to fall apart a little bit, but Jim tells him he did the right thing. Nothing else to think about.
    • Mac thinks that he's probably created a monster in Jim, who is even more hardcore and Party-line than he is. He's actually kind of scared of Jim, who seems to have no feelings.
    • Now Jim starts to take over. He can't stand sitting around and waiting for the strike to fail. He tells Mac to summon London.
    • The guys hear a siren in the distance and realize that Sam has set his fire. Jim leaves the tent to find London for himself. He finds him and commands him back to the tent. London is surprised.
    • Jim tells London that he needs to get a backbone. There's little authority in the camp and the men are falling apart. He wants London to create policing squads to keep the men from running.
    • London is pretty annoyed at Jim for taking control of things. Mac doesn't know what to think, but Jim explains how things will work: London will take orders from him now.
    • Jim says he's doing it not for power, but for action.
    • Jim gives London a plan for beating up the scabs in the orchard the next morning. London decides to follow Jim's plan.
    • Something is definitely wrong with Jim (his eye is twitching), but no one wants to go against him. But he's also physically weak and has to go to sleep.
    • Mac writes a letter to Harry Nilson, begging for help since things are going so poorly. London returns after setting the guard, and they discuss Jim, but with no conclusion.
    • London asks Mac if reds really are "sons-of-b******." Mac explains that they are only SOBs to the guys trying to take all the goods for themselves.
    • London likes that answer and asks Mac if he can also be part of the Party. Mac thinks he'd be a great addition.
    • Mac tells London that they're probably going to lose the strike, but that's no big deal. The men have learned how to organize and strike. They've learned solidarity. That's important.
    • Mac makes London understand that the "red revolution" is really an uprising against hunger and poverty. And injustice. They have to use whatever means they have, which isn't much.
    • Mac explains that they're bound to lose the strike because power in that Valley is concentrated in too few hands. And those hands are organized really well. They know how to work the law.
    • Sam breaks into the tent at that moment. He tells them that he's probably killed a guard. He promises that he won't implicate the strikers in his actions if he is caught.
    • Sam runs on, and Mac tells London not to worry about him—the cause is bigger than the individual.
    • Mac leaves the sleeping Jim in London's care and makes his way into town to mail the letter to Nilson. London hears old Dan ranting in the hospital tent: he never got his enema.
    • London sends some men to tend to Dan and then falls asleep next to Jim in the tent.
  • Chapter 14

    • Mac returns from his errand by morning and finds London and Jim still asleep. He's brought back a newspaper, which boasts headlines about the fire Sam set.
    • The paper also blames the strikers for the fire at Anderson's barn. An editorial blames the "red" agitators and endorses the use of vigilante parties to break the strike.
    • Jim now feels awful for the way he acted the night before, but Mac tells him that his behavior might still change things. They're going to break the barricades and chase the scabs.
    • Mac tells Jim about a hiding place under a bridge outside of town. If things get hot—and they seem to be heading that way—Mac wants Jim to head for it and wait it out.
    • Mac feels gloomy about the way things are going. He's pretty sure that Doc is not coming back, but he doesn't know if he's been killed or just beaten.
    • Mac and Jim speak to the guard who had been doing rounds the night before. Nothing had happened, but the men all felt that they were being watched.
    • Everyone is jumpy. It's clear that the workers are dissatisfied and tired of the strike.
    • Jim has a conversation at the toilets that pretty much confirms what they already know: the men are down and are starting to fight each other.
    • Jim encounters a beautiful woman. Her greeting alone warms him up and makes him feel good. He's feeling pretty desperate.
    • Mac and Jim learn that most of the food is gone. London is checking over the cars in the camp to see which ones will be able to break the barricades.
    • Mac and Jim learn that Anderson has already headed toward town—probably to file a complaint against the workers for trespassing.
    • Mac predicts what will happen, and it's not pretty. The people from town will probably come out in a mob, and there will be a fight. People will probably die.
    • The cars mobilize and head out toward the barricades. Jim and Mac go to visit Dan in the hospital tent. He's not doing well and hasn't eaten.
    • Jim realizes that the men in the cars are already returning. They weren't able to get anything done because the cops have guns and gas. They lost one of the cars and the men were taken.
    • Mac is discouraged because the other men in the other cars wouldn't fight—even though they were outnumbered and the police had weapons. He calls them "yellow" (not very inspiring).
    • Mac whines to Jim about how worthless he has been to the cause. Jim tries to encourage him and says he's just feeling down because he hasn't had any sleep.
    • Mac tells London and Jim that the workers are dispirited, and the only way to rouse them is to have them kill something. They need to see blood.
    • Jim brings Dan some food, but the old man refuses it. Lisa appears at the hospital tent, and Jim asks her to sit with Dan for a while. She smells death around him and doesn't want to stay.
    • Back in the camp, Burke appears and stands on the platform they'd used for Joy's funeral. He publicly accuses London of "selling out" for a load of canned food.
    • London attacks Burke and breaks his jaw while the crowd watches (there's some blood for them). London turns to the crowd and accuses the strikers of being lazy.
    • London's able to rile the crowd up enough to walk to the barricades and attack. Jim finds Mac, who is just waking up, in London's tent and gives him the report.
    • Soon the mob returns with London running at its head.
    • London forces Mac and Jim back into the tent and tells them to stay put because the workers want to lynch them (for having called them "yellow" earlier).
    • London manages to calm the crowd and reassert his authority. The raid against the barricades was successful, too, catching the police off guard.
    • London tells Jim that he's helped him to be a good leader. He didn't know what to do after he hit Burke, but then he saw Jim out in the crowd, pointing. It pleases Jim to have been of use.
    • But they all know that Mac and Jim were on the point of being lynched. Jim asks Mac if they've done the right thing with the strike. Have they messed it up?
    • Mac is angry with Jim. He still thinks that the strike is the only thing in the world. He explains to Jim that the strike has been a valuable wake-up call for the men, even if they lose.
    • Mac tells Jim that they have to keep fighting. If the men sneak off, they won't get the value of striking. It doesn't matter if some of them get killed. The cause has to stick.
    • London returns to the tent after visiting with Burke. He says that he's nearly killed the guy with a broken jaw.
    • But there's really nothing the guys can do, since Doc vanished. There's also the issue of Jim's arm, which isn't healing, and Dan—and a guy with a broken ankle. They're falling apart.
    • Jim and Mac decide to go check on Al up at the house since they haven't seen him in a bit. They leave London to hold the fort on his own.
  • Chapter 15

    • Mac and Jim make their way from the camp to the Anderson house. Mac expects to be ambushed at any moment.
    • Jim tells him it would be nice to take some time off when the whole thing is over. They've been in the orchard all this time, and Jim still doesn't know how apples grow. He wants to take it all in.
    • Mac doesn't understand this kind of talk and tells Jim that he'd hate peace and quiet—he'd be climbing the walls in no time for lack of action.
    • Mac and Jim reach Anderson's house and find Al still in bad shape. Al confirms that his father has lodged a complaint against the workers and will have them evicted from his land soon.
    • Mac tells Al that he should pretend to side with his dad when he returns home. It's enough for Mac to know that Al is sympathetic to the cause, but Al and his dad have to move on.
    • Anderson returns before Mac and Jim can escape. Mac tries to apologize to Anderson for the trouble they've caused him, but Anderson won't have any of it.
    • Anderson makes the point that Mac and Jim have never owned anything, so they don't know how it feels when it gets taken away.
    • Mac points out that they've never had the chance to own anything. Mac asks after the dogs—Anderson's pride and joy—and finds out that the kennel was near the barn. The dogs are dead.
    • Al plays along with Mac's plan and tells them to get out. As they make their way back to camp, Mac tells Jim that such suffering makes it hard to keep his eyes on the prize.
    • But Jim isn't bothered at all by this. He's willing to give up his life for the cause and thinks that Anderson should at least be willing to give up his barn. Yipes.
    • Mac and Jim meet London and tell him that the sheriff will be coming to evict them. Pretty soon, the sheriff does appear, riding the back of a dump truck and carrying a machine gun.
    • The sheriff delivers the eviction notice and tells the workers that they'll have the evening to get off the land before the troops move in, armed like him.
    • Mac thinks the sheriff's bluffing about the weapons. He wants the men to fight. He tells London that if they leave at night like they were told, the cops will "pick them off."
    • London is worried that men will die without reason if they fight, but Mac reminds him that this is war. But he's not sure if the men will take a stand. They need to be riled up again.
    • Mac tells Jim that he should leave when it gets dark. He feels that Jim is valuable to the cause and should be saved. But Jim is not on board with this idea.
    • Jim feels that he should be used until there is nothing left. He thinks that Mac is trying to protect him because he likes him personally, not because he's valuable. And that doesn't cut it for Jim.
    • Mac is annoyed and tells Jim to do whatever he wants. He walks out of the tent in a huff.
    • Lisa comes in with the baby and says that she's heard about the impending violence. But she isn't scared of it. She likes Jim and wants to sit and talk to him. He tells her a memory from his childhood, and she tries to chat with him.
    • London and Mac return and kick Lisa out. The men are getting dispirited and having meetings throughout the camp—without inviting London. They need a strategy to make the men fight.
    • Soon, an emissary from the workers comes to the tent to say that the men want a meeting with London. They want to hold another vote about the strike, since they don't want to fight.
    • London agrees. Mac thinks this is a great development, because the men have learned the process and aren't just going to sneak away.
    • Mac decides that London has to try to make the men fight if he can, and he taps Jim to help convince them.
    • Jim is super excited to finally have his chance and is willing to show his wound if it will help rouse the men.
    • A young boy interrupts their meeting to tell them that there's an injured doctor in the orchard. The men eagerly follow the boy, thinking that they've found Doc.
    • But the boy outstrips the men and runs into the trees. He's led them into a trap, and soon guns are firing at Mac and Jim. Mac grabs for Jim to get him down to the ground.
    • When his eyes recover from the flash of gunfire, Mac sees Jim face-planted on the ground near him. When he lifts Jim's head, he can see that his face has been blown off.
    • London arrives on the scene with a lantern and sees the state that Jim is in. Mac carries Jim's body over his shoulder, back to the camp. The men gather to see what has happened.
    • The men are horrified by Jim's corpse. Mac mounts the platform and positions Jim's body in full view of the crowd. And then he begins his usual speech to rouse the troops to battle.