After being fired from his last two corporate jobs, the author wonders if, instead of donning somebody's livery again, he can be a modern pioneer on ten worthless acres of desert he purchased at a tax auction for $325. He's broke, and his parcel of land is forbidding, arid and remote. He has no appropriate skills, carpentry, auto mechanics, and he isn't handy. Yet he finds that he is able to build a simple home for $100 in salvaged lumber, and set up his own utility district to supply his minimal energy needs. Surprisingly, there is no hardship. In a few weeks, he's settled, and can begin a life of leisure.
At first he thought he had the valley to himself. But it's populated by a dozen other pioneers: Alba the Dog Lady, Mystery Woman, Big Huey, the Demented Vet, and the Hobo. Indian Phil lived there too until he shot a finger off the deputy.