As remembered months later in a few well-planned flashbacks, twelve-year-old Trey's twin brother Troy was killed in a rash attempt to save the local wild deer from poachers who were trespassing on the family property. Now, when Trey's father carries a severely wounded doe home to their New Hampshire barn, the lonely boy takes over Tawny's care--nursing and protecting her, delighting in her companionship, refusing to send her to the Wild Animal Farm after she invades and wrecks the family kitchen, finally teaching her to fend for herself and very reluctantly sending her back to the wild, The quiet story is really packed with incident (a storm, a fire, a camping accident), but none of it is played for drama, and nothing that happens is outside the normal course of the New England farm life (c. 1958) that is so securely a part of Trey's story. The plot contains effective echoes and reverberations (Troy's death scene, for example, charges Trey's later confrontation with another hunter) and some sensitively handled small scenes--as when Trey, attending a potluck supper shortly after a piece on him and Tawny has appeared in the local paper, is besieged with attention while his overflowing paper plate grows limp and soggy and ""threaten[s] to dissolve in his hands."" Then ""'When are you going to set her free?' asked old Mrs. Clara Johnson. Suddenly, Trey heard no other question"". . . and his plate of food ultimately goes untouched. Throughout, the dead boy's felt absence adds poignance and dimension to the simple story of a boy and a doe.