Rebecca Wainwright is fifteen years old in 1866 when her family travels west on the Oregon Trail. The journey is difficult, tedious, and at times, dangerous. They cross swollen rivers, endure severe storms, and Indian attack. While the wagon train continues on to Oregon, the Wainwright family stops and settles in Nebraska. They build a sod home and farm the land.
Rebecca and her family endure many hardships on the windswept prairie: fierce snowstorms, voracious wolves, and prairie fire.
In the spring of 1867, the Wainwrights are attacked by a party of Lakota Indians and Rebecca is taken captive. Her fear is nearly overwhelming and she wonders what these savages may have in store for her.
Her captor, a young, handsome warrior, brings her to a woman in his own village to become the woman's daughter.
Rebecca learns the Lakota language and way of life, realizing she has had many misconceptions about the Indians. She learns they are loving, caring people who only want to be left alone by the whites. She falls in love with the young, handsome warrior and they are married in the Lakota tradition.
She begins to see the destruction of the native people, their lands stolen and desecrated, the buffalo slaughtered, and the tribes forced onto reservations. She witnesses the Indian people fighting back against white aggression, and becoming a hunted and hated people in their own country.