Grave robbers turn a Southern Illinois town upside down. Lou and Duke, drifting ex-cons, are arrested and prosecuted for the crimes. Retired Sheriff Sam Carter records a chronicle of events to keep his town, Greens Point, in a good light for the history books.
Media covering the notorious crimes and trial pumps unforeseen money into this once sleepy town. From postarrest statements, Sheriff Carter learns about the defendants' lives. From the witness stand, Lou yells at the jurors and spectators and shouts that they are the gold diggers. The shift to the criminals' perspectives gnaws at Sheriff Carter. Betsy, his wife, asks him a question from the book of John: do you know what Lazarus said after he was raised from the tomb? The question haunts him until the end of the ordeal--Betsy must tell him the answer.
Beneath the retired sheriff's wry narration of the investigation, arrests, and trial lies a fundamental question bound by neither place nor time. The truly good person is not the accuser but the accused, not the historian but the criminal, condemned between the pages of history in a tomb void of the dreams and hope of tomorrow.