Spit MacPhee comes to the riverside town of St Helen to live with his grandfather, Fyfe MacPhee. Because Fyfe, who has a steel plate in his head as a result of an old war injury, is subject to violent fits, the townspeople fear for Spit's future. When Fyfe dies in one of his fits, a fierce legal battle is initiated, as the Catholic Tree family and the Protestant Arbuckle family bicker over which of them will adopt Spit.
According to Moran in his Guide to Australian TV Series, the program is 'very aware of different social levels in the town and especially of some of the divisions brought about by religion.' Moran also notes that the series rated well in Australia and sold well overseas.