When his byre - and the forty-three cows within it - goes up in flames, Barnabas Kane asks the rural community for help to get his family back on their feet, yet all his requests yield are suspicion and sanctimony. Humiliated, Barnabas grows ever more indignant. Before long this anger makes its mark on an innocent, and toil turns to tragedy.
In 1895 twenty-six-year-old Bridget Cleary disappeared from her house in rural Tipperary. At first, some said that the fairies had taken her into their stronghold in a nearby hill, from where she would emerge, riding a white horse. But then her badly burned body was found in a shallow grave.