Emmett Brown was a charming young man who quoted poetry and read to his wife and young family from the great novels of the world. But he also had a 'system'. Emmett always had in mind that he was going to make a million for the family and continued to pursue his dream of 'the numbers' that would guarantee a win at the races. It only takes a few disappointments to throw Emmett back to his own abusive childhood in and out of orphanages, and he is soon a broken down gambling drunk who terrorises his wife and children. Starting at Emmett's funeral and reflecting back, through the two eldest children - Louisa who becomes a journalist and Rob an arborist - the Brown family story is shared. Rob decides that none of the children should ever have children because they too will end up behaving like their father; Jessie agrees with him, but Louisa and Peter have children which bring them great joy. Each of Emmett's children has their own issues to deal with, but somehow, on his passing, each comes to discover that they loved and learnt from their father.