From forest ranger's tomboy daughter to young lady with love of the wilds. Sixteen year-old Jonnie is adamant about avoiding silly girl things; she prefers riding alone even if she meets up with dangerous characters like Hobe Laskin. His son Bert is something of an enigma to her but Doug Harper, the ranger-aspirant son of father's college friend, knows Bert has something going for him. At times the forest description and guides read like a Department of the interior brochure but there is a story: what is that sinister-looking Laskin up to? A fire burns out all kinds of answers, catalyzes the repentance of widowed, drunken father and turns him to his son--but first a jail sentence. Jonnie has second thoughts about secondary sexual characteristics, and, even more importantly, about personality and behavior as she watches Doug change too. Arrested development.