Morris Brown, bail bondsman from Champaign, Illinois, stumbles into his extraordinary life in the 1950's. His journey parallels the events of the first 60 years of the twentieth century. His showmanship and persistence at tracking down bond jumpers make his story compelling. He spends years perfecting the art of catching the allusive jumpers.
Morris Brown connects with movie stars, the mob, and ordinary folks in need of help getting out of jail. Never one to shy away from publicity, he floods the country with handbills and thousands of book matches, emblazoned with pictures and known habits of fugitives—plus fat rewards and personal greetings for good heath, a happy Yule or a bang-up 4th of July. Local newspaper reporters follow him to lunch counters, railway stations, and courtrooms, looking for a tidbit from this local celebrity.
Stirred by the desire to make social changes and serve his community, this "people's friend" spends years pursuing political office while sidestepping his mob connections. How will these issues be resolved? Can he make it work? These questions Morris thinks about quietly, mostly to himself.