In 1979, at the age of fourteen, Ray McCullough ran away from his home on a western New South Wales sheep property following a violent confrontation with his dad, Jim McCullough. He left behind his mother, Delly, and his sisters, Ursula and Tilda.
Now forty-one, Ray works as an itinerant cook and labourer across the remote outback. A practical man in love with history, landscape and solitude, he believes he suffers from an inherited streak of violence. A good man who thinks he is bad, Ray has spent his life running away from memories of family and home.
When the body of a man is found in a country pub along with Ray's identification, Ursula once again takes up the search which has defined most of her adult life. It leads her first to her home town and a confrontation with her elderly father, then further, into far western NSW.
Six months earlier, on hearing of the death of Delly McCullough, Ray embarks on a journey of his own, searching for Ursula and news of Delly, then meeting his father again for the first time in over thirty years. Along the way he is drawn unwillingly into a new life with troubled fourteen-year-old Mick and Mick's mother Lily, on their failing family farm near Bourke.
The Far-Back Country is an extraordinary story about memory, mistaken identity, false knowledge and how the idea of family can define us.