John Prine's "Sam Stone was one of the most telling songs about the effect of the Vietnam War on America, written, recorded, and released while the country was still in the middle of the conflict. Strikingly, it was not specifically a protest song against the war, but rather a story-song about a soldier who came home from the war addicted to drugs. Set to a delicate melody that Prine sang over one of his characteristic fingerpicked guitar patterns, it was full of striking lines, beginning with the terrifying couplet that opens the chorus: "There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes/And Jesus Christ died for nothing, I suppose." The story predictably goes downhill until "There was nothing to be done/But trade the house he bought on the G.I. Bill/For a flag-draped casket on a local heroes' hill." Stark and uncompromising, "Sam Stone" was one of the few songs that talked about the effect of the war on the soldiers who fought in it. One of Prine's best early compositions, it appeared on his self-titled debut album in 1971 as well as on Prime Prine: The Best of John Prine (1976), Live (1988), and Great Days: The John Prine Anthology (1993), and it has been included on several various-artists compilations.