In the 1850s, Caleb finds himself at the home of his grandmother in north Texas after his father goes bankrupt. There his life is saved by a runaway slave; when he discovers that his cousin is helping other runaways, he must decide whether to help her or not. The first half of this novel is consumed by an absorbing depiction of life in Texas in the mid-19th century, including an extended section detailing Caleb's solo journey across the state. The plot concerning runaway slaves forms the second half of the novel; what makes this tale unique among others dealing with the Underground Railroad, aside from its Texas setting, is that Caleb is genuinely uncertain about what is right. He helps the runaways, but even in the end remains unclear about the moral ramifications of his actions. Instead of imposing a modern sensibility, Wisler (Mr. Lincoln's Drummer, 1995, etc.), refreshingly, creates a character that is true to his times.