SAMANTHA HARPER MACY grew up in Batesville, Mississippi, which began as a cotton gin and company store on the Tallahatchie River and later migrated a few miles east to meet the new railroad track, where a station was built and a town square around it. Her childhood was spent climbing trees and swimming, fishing, and waterskiing at the Sardis Dam, riding bareback in her grandmother's pasture on her plow horse, Ole George, and picking strawberries and blackberries with her mother, father and brothers to take home for jams, jellies, and pies.

By the time Sam (whose name then was Harriet) was a teenager, the road to ride was Highway 51 to Memphis, and she and her friends spent days there chasing Elvis and going to charm school to learn to "act like ladies."