A Good Man Is Hard to Find is a short story about a family going on a vacation. As they drive from Georgia to Florida, the grandmother asks to make a quick side trip. She wants to visit a mysterious house. They get into an accident and meet a notorious criminal, The Misfit. He executes the whole family.
In the beginning, the grandmother tries to persuade the family to go to Tennessee. She shows her son, Bailey, a newspaper article about a criminal heading to Florida. No one pays attention to her words, and the following day they leave the house. The grandmother sneaks her cat into the car before anyone can notice. She knows that Bailey would not allow her to take it. She wears her best attire that draws a comparison to the modest look of Bailey’s wife.
On the way, the grandmother argues with the children, who are not excited about traveling the Old South. She expresses her love for the local countryside and notes that children used to behave better when she was young. As the children start fighting, the grandmother tries to calm them down with a story. Eventually, the family stops for lunch at a place called Tower. The grandmother enjoys a chat with the owner, Red Sammy. He notes that “a good man is hard to find.” She instantly agrees, and they have a nostalgic conversation about the old times.
When they return on the road, the grandmother suddenly remembers an old house in the area that she visited once. Bailey is reluctant to go, but she tricks children into believing the house has a hidden panel. They force him to change the plan. As they proceed to the dirt road, she recalls the actual house location. When she realizes it is in Tennessee and not Georgia, she kicks the basket with her cat. It jumps on Bailey. The father makes a driving mistake, and the car turns over, landing in a ditch.
As they need help getting the car out of the ditch, the grandmother stops a passing car with three men inside. Suddenly, she recognizes the Misfit, the criminal from the newspaper she showed to Bailey. The Misfit confirms her fears, adding that it would be better for the family if she didn’t realize it was him. He orders his partners to lead Bailey and his son deeper into the forest.
As the grandmother keeps talking to the criminal, she hears the gunshots from the woods. The Misfit tells the story of his childhood and denies the allegations of murder of his father. The grandmother tries to persuade the Misfit to change his life through faith and tells him to pray. When the Misfit’s companions come back, he orders them to escort the mother and the daughter to the woods.
The grandmother hears a scream from the woods, followed by the shots. Meanwhile, the Misfit doubts the ability of Jesus to resurrect the dead. The grandmother agrees reluctantly. She tries to use the moment to save her life, as she calls the Misfit her child and touches him on the shoulder. However, he jumps away and shoots her several times in the chest. The story concludes with the Misfit telling his companions that there is no pleasure in life.