In 1977, armed only with his big ten-inch (butcher knife) and a bottle of Yukon Jack, eighteen-year-old Johnny Rez, a blue-collar dreamer from the flatlands of Cleveland, discovers a better world high in the Smokies. Over the next thirty years, he ventures into those mountains again and again, seeking out the wild places where society ends and rules don't matter.
The story culminates with a series of attempts to climb the most elusive Smoky Mountain of all, Mount Guyot (pronounced "GEE-oh"), where few people ever set foot. After three decades of booze, dope, and broken dreams, can a newly-sober John Reznick finally find Mount Guyot and make it to the top? The years are working against him, but faith and love are on his side.