Setting his story during a time when antislavery sentiment was gaining momentum, Sanders (Here Comes the Mystery Man, 1993, etc.) tells the story of a Tennessee family of freed slaves who make their way north to begin a new life in Indiana. James Starman narrates this metaphor-studded tale of a lesser-known side of frontier settlement. His family follows the drinking gourd for more than a month of nights as the ""buttery bowl of the moon filled up then emptied again."" A kind fisherman with a ""face as wrinkled as an old boot"" carries them across the Ohio to the free soil of Indiana. A Quaker gift of seed and a borrowed mule and plow enable them to work the land, eventually drawing family and friends from the South to form a new community they call Freedom. Inspired by the true story of Lyles Station, Indiana, Sanders sketches with broad strokes a fictionalized portrait of another kind of struggle for freedom. Allen's trademark pastels are rendered in predominant smoky blues that provide powerful keyhole glimpses of family and farm set starkly against white canvas, accentuating the austerity of the days of frontier homesteading.