Early in the 19th Century two families, the Allens and Kathans, settled in the Southern Adirondack Mountains of New York State. By 1960's their descendants had isolated themselves in a remote hollow high in the mountains. Below lay the great Sacandaga Valley. Its rich lands rapidly filled with farms, factories and mills.
By the end of the century, the Allens and the Kathans had intermarried: all the residents in the Hollow were related. Because of their isolation, misunderstandings developed between them and the outside world.
The economic disasters of the 1930s shut down the factories and mills. In 1932 the Sacandaga River was dammed, flooding the fertile valley below the Hollow. Forced from their homes, the valley residents sought employment elsewhere, but the Allens and Kathans chose to remain up in the mountains.