The grandmother tries to convince her son, Bailey, and his wife to take the family to east Tennessee for vacation instead of Florida. She points out an article about The Misfit, an escaped convict heading toward Florida, and adds that the children, John Wesley and June Star, have already been there.
On the day of the trip, the family stops at a restaurant called the Tower, owned by Red Sammy Butts. Red Sam complains that people are untrustworthy, explaining that he recently let two men buy gasoline on credit. The grandmother asks if he has heard about The Misfit, and Red Sam’s wife worries that he will rob them. Arguing that “a good man is hard to find,” Red Sam and the grandmother lament the state of the world.
Back in the car, the grandmother wakes from a nap and realizes that a plantation she once visited is nearby. She lies and says that the house had a secret panel to make it seem more interesting. Excited, the children beg to go to the house until Bailey angrily gives in. The grandmother points him to a dirt road, and the family drives deep into the woods. The grandmother suddenly remembers that the house was in Tennessee, not in Georgia. Horrified at her mistake, she jerks her feet. Pitty Sing escapes from the basket and startles Bailey, who wrecks the car. The children’s mother breaks her shoulder, but no one else is hurt. The grandmother decides not to tell Bailey about her mistake.
A passing car stops, and three men get out, carrying guns. The grandmother thinks she recognizes one of them. The grandmother suddenly screams because she realizes that he is The Misfit. The grandmother asks The Misfit if he would shoot a lady, and he says he would not like to. The grandmother claims that she can tell that he is a good man and that he comes from “nice people.” The Misfit agrees and praises his parents.
The grandmother continues telling him that he is a good man while he tells the other two men, Hiram and Bobby Lee, to take Bailey and John Wesley into the woods. The grandmother adjusts her hat, but the brim breaks off. The Misfit says he knows he is not good but that he is not the worst man either. The grandmother asks The Misfit if he ever prays. Just as he says no, she hears two gunshots. He tells her that he was not a bad child, but he went to prison for a crime he cannot remember committing. He says a psychiatrist told him that he killed his father. The grandmother instructs The Misfit to pray so that Jesus will help him. The Misfit says he is fine on his own.
Bobby Lee and Hiram come back from the woods, and Bobby Lee gives The Misfit the shirt Bailey had been wearing. The Misfit tells the children’s mother to take the baby and June Star into the woods with Bobby Lee and Hiram. The grandmother starts chanting, “Jesus, Jesus.” The Misfit says he is like Jesus, except Jesus had not committed a crime. He says he gave himself this name because his punishment does not seem to fit the crime people said he committed. A gunshot comes from the woods. The grandmother begs The Misfit not to shoot a lady. Two more gunshots come from the woods, and the grandmother cries out for Bailey.
The Misfit says that Jesus confused everything by raising the dead. He says that if what Jesus did is true, then everyone must follow him. If he did not actually raise the dead, however, then all anyone can do is enjoy their time on earth by indulging in “meanness.” The grandmother agrees that perhaps Jesus did not raise the dead and calls The Misfit “one of my own children” before he shoots her in the chest three times. Bobby Lee and Hiram return, and The Misfit observes that the grandmother could have been a good woman if someone had been around “to shoot her every minute of her life.” The Misfit says life has no true pleasure.