Lead mining in Wisconsin in 1840 is the background against which young Peter Trelawny a Welsh boy's story is told. With his father recently dead, Peter is head of the family when they come to the small town of Mineral Point to settle. But good things follow when Peter gets work in a mine and lead shipments, then as guard and gors. Later he is instrumental in capturing a lead robber and makes friends with Gov. Henry Dodge, who offers him a piece of land and a chance for the kind of future Peter wants- that of a free and independent farmer. The plot is a vehicle for mining information and values of personal freedom, but the author's knowledge of period and district (see his other titles) focus them sharply.