As Huron totem, an eagle stands for courage; as wooden charm given by Indian Mary Jackpine to white Trudy Armstrong, it signifies Mary's admission of cowardice--she's not proud of what her people have become. But she is proud of what they were, and the wood from her father's carving could come from the chip on her shoulder. She fears an end to her close-to-nature life in the forest, sees a bad omen in Trudy's cousin Tony, come for a rangering summer. Three teenagers, then, none particularly well dramatized: Mary is hypersensitive and notably inconsistent. Tony is all-comforting and all cars about this new culture, and Trudy talks about seeing a city someday. When the Armstrongs decide that Trudy should go to school in Tony's city, Mary runs off, seeing this move as proof that she'll have to return to the reservation; the others go to find her but, since Mr. Armstrong is a ranger, a fire interrupts. Mary gets to rescue them, which restores her confidence, and Trudy returns the totem to a courageous sixteen-year-old; then comes the news that she's bound for the city with Tony and Trudy instead of that depressing reservation. Too many trying to do too much, which diffuses the issues until the facile conclusion.