Pal is a huge dog, lost and hunted in a southeast mountain community after his master is killed. With characteristic, strong- bodied prose, Jim Kjelgaard outlines the way in which Pal and a new master are reintegrated with hostile yet rugged surroundings. Jeff Tarrant is 18 but he has a long history of trading and selling behind him. Besides being out for himself he is also out to do his best by his fellow man. When he and Pal find each other a close friendship is begun. As Jeff stays on in the town of Cressman, he becomes more and more interested in the murder of Pal's former owner. It narrows down to one of the two Whitney men who had been feuding with him; the reasons for the killing become clear. There is also a perceptive character portrayal of the fiery and individualistic mountain people. Absorbing.