Tom Garvey (Mel Gibson) takes a factory job to make enough money to keep his farm. Jobs at the factory are available only because the regular workers are on strike. After the strike ends, Tom and his fellow "Scabs" are fired and forced to walk a gauntlet of the union workers, who curse at them, spit on them, and pelt them with rocks.
Tom goes back to his family farm to find that heavy rains have caused the river to flood. To save their crops, Tom and all his farming neighbors must work frantically to put up sand bags along the river banks.
Joe Wade (Scott Glenn), the real estate developer who has been trying to buy up all the farmalnd in the area looks on, and helps add a sand bag to the dam the farmer has built. He tells them that, eventually, the land will be flooded and the farmers will HAVE to sell him their land. He can afford to be patient and wait for that to happen.
But even though the long term future looks bleak, Tom and his wife Mae (Sissy Spacek) celebrate their present success.
Thanks John L!