Orphaned by an Indian raid, twelve-year-old Jonse Deerfield now lives under the control of his harsh guardian, Roscoe Thurston, in the wild frontier country of Virginia. The possibility of escaping from Roscoe comes unexpectedly when two trappers, Silas and Ezra, save Jonse from two murderous renegades. Taking a liking to the boy, Silas offers to free Jonse from Roscoe and bring him up as his own son. But first, Silas and Ezra resolve to carry out their plan to investigate an old silver mine deep in Indian Territory. While Jonse waits for the return of the two trappers, enduring the threats and curses of Thurston as best he can, he uncovers a terrible plot that threatens his benefactors. Horrified by his discovery, Jonse sets out on a desperate journey through the dangerous wilderness seeking to warn his friends in time.