Another of Betty Baker's meticulously researched and honestly executed recreations of Southwest Indian culture and conflict, A Stranger and Afraid nevertheless lacks the vitality and humor for which she has previously been commended. The time is 1540, when Spanish ""strangers"" under Coronado disrupt isolated pueblo villages in their obsessive search for gold. The protagonist is Sopete, a Wichita boy captured four years previously by a Cicuye band but still stubbornly resisting absorption into their society. The focus is on Sopete's conflicted feelings as he shares the Cicuye's suffering at the strangers' hands, as he sees his young brother reject Wichita ways for affiliation with the Cicuye, and as his treacherous fellow captive, a Pawnee named Kima, lures the strangers with tales of gold which bring grief to all the Indians involved, though his lies are perpetrated for a motive Sopete shares -- getting the boys back to their native tribes. The strangers' arrival brings relief for readers from Sopete's homesick introspection, but the villainous Kima is never credibly realized and Sopete's brooding resentments do not invite involvement.