In the 1930s, many native children were sent away from their families to boarding school, where they were forbidden to speak their own languages or practice their own traditions, in the name of becoming more ""American."" This is the true adventure of bow illustrator Lowry's father, Benny Len, and her uncle, Stanley, ""escaped"" from their school when they realized they would not be allowed to go home for summer vacation. The boys hop a freight train home in the middle of the night; their families are overjoyed at their return. Poetic drawings illustrate both the excitement of the adventure and the spiritual side of the boys' life, as the elements of their culture call to them. Winning readers' sympathies from the outset is the comparison of the clocks, classrooms, and uniforms of boarding school with indigenous customs, where time ""didn't march in neat rows,"" and children were taught not by rote but from their grandmother's stories. The ending is perfect: A snapshot of the two runaways, now middle-aged, shows them with big grins on their faces, definitely having the last laugh.