To see his adored uncle Tex, a director in Hollywood, Joshua, a high school Junior, travels with his family to California through the route of the old covered wagons, assimilating snatches of the early history of the gold rush days on the way. Before reaching California, Joshua meets not only his uncle on location but a strange giant of a man with something of another age about him- Jedediah Meade, whose father had traveled with Fremont and Kit Carson. As Joshua hungrily investigates the movie business, watching takes, conferences and behind the scenes work, he realizes his uncle is dissatisfied with the movie about Carson and Fremont he is doing called ""Go West"". Off and on, however, Jedediah Meade reappears and his tales and spirit find their way into the movie. Lots of movie-making details and some history. However, the movie is no model for a good western.