The play consists of four acts. It starts with the selection of Dad Rudd in the grip of drought. His neighbour John Carey seizes his stock for a debt, partly to get revenge for Dad having secured an adjoining piece of land coveted by Carey. Carey's playboy son Jim is romantically interested in Dad's daughter Kate and follows her to Brisbane.
Kate returns home to escape Jim Carey, who follows her home. There is an encounter between Jim Carey, Kate and Kate's boyfriend Sandy which results in Sandy knocking Carey unconscious. Jim Carey is discovered by local eccentric, 'Cranky Jack', who recognises Carey as the man who ran off with Jack's wife and strangles him to death. The body is discovered by Sandy and Kate who believe that Sandy has accidentally been responsible for killing Carey. Sandy escapes detection and the inquest returns a verdict that Jim Caret was murdered by some person or persons unknown.
Dad Rudd becomes a prosperous farmer and his friends encourage him to run for parliament against John Carey. Carey overhears an incriminating conversation between Sandy and Kate and arranges a warrant for Sandy's arrest. However Crank Jack then attacks John Carey, thinking he is his son, confessing to the crime. He is dragged away and Sandy's name is cleared. Dadd Rudd is elected to parliament.