A tough sixteen-year old girl from the Ozarks, Ree Dolly finds her life thrown into a desperate frenzy when the law comes to announce that she will lose her home and family if her missing father does not show for court next week. The ensuing search has Ree going through great physical and mental lengths to overcome “bad blood” between members of the Dolly clan to save her mother and brothers. In this “country noir” novel by Daniel Woodrell, loyalty in this rough, tight knit community, run on illegal drugs, is what fundamentally determines Ree’s success. Ultimately, familial loyalty becomes the positive force that gradually pulls Ree through this time in her life, allowing her to find pride and reward in her name, recognize the value of her immediate family, and forge a new beneficial relationship with uncle Teardrop.
Firstly, Ree’s journey shows her the worth of the Dolly clan and what it means to have “Dolly blood.” Near the beginning of the search, Ree pleads fruitlessly with Merab to let her see Thump Milton: “Please--- I am a Dolly! Some of our blood at least is the same. That’s s’posed to mean somethin’ --- ain’t that what is always said?” (Woodrell 59). Ree uses her familial connection as a persuasion tactic. However, the desperation in her tone exposes her lack of confidence in the success of using it. She does not truly believe that the strength and loyalty within the Dolly clan will lead to something fruitful, even questioning it directly with the “ain’t that what