A family saga, following four generations of the Irish-Australian Quinn family (both working class and Catholic) and their intimate involvement in the Australian labour movement. Moran, in his Guide to Australian TV Series, summarises the plot as follows:
Paddy Quinn is a shearer involved in the great shearers' strike of the 1890s that saw the formation of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). Married to Maureen, he becomes the lover of Nesta Darling, a silvertail and suffragette. He dies young and his wife becomes both the custodian of his memory and also, in a way, custodian of the founding ideological vision of the ALP. Her children and their children receive the political torch, but somehow drop it. It is only in 1972-73 coinciding with the election of Gough Whitlam and the first federal ALP government for 23 years, that Maureen, now a very old woman, sees her aspirations fulfilled with the decision of her great-grandchildren to join the party and work for the ALP.
Moran notes that some critics dismissed the program as 'Land of Soap', since it concentrates as much on 'more personal and domestic matters such as adultery, divorce and religion, filial betrayal, ideological defection, alcoholism and suicide' as on 'great political events and actors such as the Great Depression, World War 2, Menzies and the Communist referendum'. He does note, however, that 'the series is feminist in its politics, seeing women as the guardians of the social and political equality while men are, for the most part, corrupt, cowardly, unfaithful and chauvinistic.'
The series cost, according to Moran, $4.6 million to produce, but achieved good ratings even when aired against Sixty Minutes.