All Daniel wants to do is get back to Illinois to find out who murdered his parents. He doesn't want to travel the Oregon Trail with his guardian, Jim. He doesn't want twelve-year-old Virginia Reed, a member of the Donner Party, as a friend. And he certainly doesn't want anything bad to happen to his little sister Hannah as they travel West. Confronted by both good and bad Indians, good and bad whites, how will Daniel be able to protect Hannah on the long trek? Will he ever discover the mystery behind his parents' deaths? Will he ever find a real family again?