Preteen Bryan investigates a schoolyard rumor about an ogre's lair in his town and finds much more than he expected. His adventures in the summer of '55 lead him to tunnels once used by the Underground Railroad, prohibition smugglers and a modern-day madman.
Between a despotic nun at school and Irish catholic parents at home, Bryan believes he will never make it to fifth grade. When Bryan discovers a giant, soot-covered beast who turns out not to be the legendary town’s ogre, he and his pal, Roo, befriend the man and are eventually permitted to spend the summer of 1955 learning the man’s trade. They soon discover a series of tunnels under their workshop, which the three of them explore. They find evidence of smugglers from prohibition era and the Underground Railroad from the civil war. They soon learn that they are not alone down there.