The Finch family lives in Maycomb, Alabama. Although it is the 1930s, a time of depression, the family is not struggling. Atticus, the father, is a prominent lawyer. The narrator explains that it is a time of racism and prejudice.
A young black man is accused of raping a white woman, and Atticus is asked to defend him. This is not easy; Atticus must overcome the prejudice and preconceptions people of Maycomb have against Tom Robinson.
Atticus’ children, Scout and Jem, become a center of attention because their father is representing a black man. Throughout the trial, the children go through tribulations of their own as they learn valuable lessons about justice, commitment, and what is right.
Tom is found guilty, and Atticus’s innocent children cannot believe that the people they knew could send an innocent man to the electric chair.
One man in particular, Bob Ewell, has made his disapproval of Atticus well know. During the move, he threatened both Atticus, and Tom’s wife, Helen. The children fear he will do something to hurt their father.
In the end, Ewell goes after Scout and Jem, instead of Atticus. In the process, their reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley, comes to the children's rescue. He grabs Ewell's knife and kills him.