Wandering about on the ridge above his family's farm, Robert Peck comes across a neighbor's cow having difficulty giving birth. Acting quickly, Rob is able to help, and two bull calves are born. He is rewarded by their neighbor and owner of the cow, Mr. Tanner, with a piglet of his own to raise. Rob names the pig Pinky. Putting all his energy into caring for her, he dreams of the day she will become a brood sow and provide his family with a litter of pigs. Rob is the only surviving son in his family, and his four older sisters have all married and left home.
Rob's father, Haven Peck, is a quiet, gentle man who butchers pigs, a job he does not enjoy but performs so he can provide for his family. Mr. Peck cannot read or write, but stresses the importance of education to his son. Although the family is not rich, Mr. Peck teaches them that they are rich in the things that truly matter: they have each other, they have land to work, and they have God's creation to enjoy. However, tough times bring wrenching decisions when slaughtering season comes. Told from a boy's perspective, this story is both funny and moving, as Robert learns about life, love, and death, and what it means to be a man.