"Reckoning" is the story of a sixteen-year-old mountain boy who kills a town boy in self-defense with a knife. The locale is the area of the Cumberland Plateau in Kentucky. The mountain boy, Zeke, is a member of the Ballard clan, a people who settled in Kentucky in the late 1700s.
The local police, along with the Kentucky state police, go into the mountains to capture Zeke. They are stopped by his father, Josh, and other members of the fierce Ballard clan.
Eventually, Josh is convinced to send his son down the mountain to stand trial. Zeke is convicted and then badly beaten. The Ballards ride into town at dawn. After killing the sheriff and the Kentucky State Police captain, they take the wounded boy and ride back into the mountains.
The governor has no choice but to send the Kentucky National Guard against the Ballards. In the mountains, they will face their day of reckoning.