In Trinity, South Caroline, the boy Caleb Temple is celebrating his birthday with his deranged father and his beloved disturbed and traumatized sister Merlyn Temple. Out of the blue, she starts repeating over and over "someone's at the door" and her father tries to kill her. Caleb flees and brings Sheriff Lucas Buck and Deputy Ben Healy that arrest his father. However Ben accidentally witnesses Lucas breaking Merlyn's neck in her room and blaming her father for the death. Caleb goes to the hospital and the alcoholic Dr. Matt Crower examines him. Lucas comes to the ...
Caleb flees and misleads Sheriff Lucas Buck that is chasing him with his men, dogs and Gail. He sees a burial and discovers that his father is dead and buried side by side with Merlyn. He finds a moribund man trapped in an abandoned house and seeks out Dr. Matt Crower to help him. Gail identifies the man as a missing journalist. Meanwhile the coroner forges the autopsies of Gage and Merlyn reporting as informed by Lucas and he is haunted by Merlyn.
Carter got away with molesting a girl, via Sheriff Buck's influence, but 17 years later, stalls about providing his own 15 year-old daughter as the Sheriff's go-fer. When junkyard owner Carter doesn't meet Buck's midnight deadline, immediately Carter's wife is maimed in a household accident. Buck offers to buy the orphaned Caleb an elaborate science project, while Caleb's dead sister & Dr. Crower counsel him to focus on learning, not cheating to win.
Gail accuses Sheriff Buck of foul play when she learns that her childhood friend Holly Gallagher, who was Sheriff Buck's girlfriend, was with her just before she mysteriously drove her car off a bridge. As Lucas takes Gail for a ride to demonstrate for her where and how this happened, he takes her by surprise with a kiss. Caleb goes up against his friend Boone in an archery competition, and Deputy Ben must deal with the abusive behavior of his ex-wife's current husband.
The bones of one of Trinity's residents are found at the remains of the burned-out Temple home, which now belongs to Lucas. The victim's brother-in-law, Lt. Drey of the State Police (guest star Bruce Campbell), comes to Trinity to investigate, and Selena Coombs is a suspect. Lucas, meanwhile, tempts Caleb with a casket of cash.
Some houligans are staying at the boarding house where Caleb and Dr. Crower live, and they're shaking down the town's business owners for cash. Sheriff Buck takes note and begins to deal with him in his own special way, especially after they threaten Caleb, who discovers their stash of cash in one of the rooms at the boarding house. When the bad guys corner Caleb in his own room, they get a scare from the little boy, however!