Classical in its breadth and scope, The Orphans' Home Cycle begins with a father's death in a small-Texas town at the turn of the century, a loss that sends his son, Horace Robedaux, on an odyssey through the darkest corners of the heart as he learns to become a husband, father, and patriarch. Set in Foote's fictitious town of Harrison, Texas and based partly on the childhood of Foote's father and the courtship and marriage of his parents, the cycle is a wide-ranging, intricate work.
Part I begins at the turn of the 20th century with the plays Roots in a Parched Ground, Convicts and Lily Dale and follows Horace Robedaux in his formative years.
Part II focuses on the married life of Horace Robedaux and his new wife and is made up of the plays The Widow Claire, Courtship and Valentine's Day.
Part III consists of the plays 1918, Cousins and The Death of Papa and begins with the turmoil of World War I and ends with the characters looking to the future of their family and land.
Three of the individual plays, Roots in a Parched Ground, Convicts and Cousins receive their world premieres as part of the cycle.