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.
In Trinity, Carter Bowen is the owner of the local junkyard and repair service and lives in a house with his beloved wife Etta and his fifteen year-old daughter Poppy. Out of the blue, Sheriff Lucas Buck visits him and requests poppy to work in his office. Seventeen years ago, Carter had a problem with a teenager and Sheriff Buck helped him; now he wants Poppy in retribution and gives a parental authorization to Carter to be signed until midnight of the next day. Carter does not sign the document and Lucas asks him to lodge a newcomer to town in his house. When Carter sees who the stranger is, he threatens for Poppy's honor. Meanwhile Caleb needs to prepare a science project for the school fair and Buck and Dr. Matt Crower offer to help him.
- Caleb takes part in the school science fair and gives in a little to temptation when it comes to building a tornado chamber. Carter Bowen, the town's scrap merchant, owes Sheriff Buck a favour, and collects Wash, an ex-con on Buck's behalf. Bowen's 15 year old daughter immediately takes a shine to the lanky murderer. Bowen and his wife are not pleased when Buck manipulates the situation so that Wash has to stay with them for a few days. Tension in the household mounts, until one night, Bowen hears noises that suggests his daughter and Wash are making love. He breaks the door to the bedroom open and sees them. He shoots Wash - who turns out to be standing outside having a cigarette. When Bowen looks again, he has killed his wife, who was tucking her daughter in.... In a separate storyline, Gail spots her mother's old car in the scrapyard and remembers Buck pulling her mother over. Her mother, watching the Sheriff approach, hisses at her young daughter to hide something for her, obviously not wishing it to be found on her when the Sheriff questions her. Gail reaches under the dash - and finds the box she hid. It contains a key.... A young man looks with longing at the Bowen's daughter as her father is taken away by the police. Buck tells him he should have his own business by now, and that a low interest loan could be arranged. The young man is grateful, and agrees readily when the Sheriff says that at some time in the future, he'll want a small favour in return.......