In The Driftless Area, Pierre is a waiter with little money who makes a living as he can. His parents die, so he decides to go to live in his hometown, perhaps to live a little better if his parents have left something in inheritance.
There Pierre meets Stella, a woman of whom he falls in love immediately. It seems that love is reciprocated, so although Pierre is not fortunate in the economic, at least it will be in love.
What Pierre does not know is that Stella is going to bring him many problems, albeit involuntarily. The reason is that she is somehow related to Shane, a dangerous criminal.
This criminal will not be grateful that Pierre is with Stella, so he will act accordingly, so that the relationship ends, even if it has to use expeditious methods of the mafiots.