A nine-year-old Pawnee boy is named after that steady but slowest of creatures, the turtle. He yearns for the day when he will earn the status of man, and perhaps someday, of chief. When a wolf threatens his baby sister, Turtle bravely defies him with a toy bow, and so impresses a Pawnee warrior that he publicly presents Turtle with the man's bow as a substitute for the childish one he, hitherto, has carried. And with a new sense of confidence, the prairie child, son of a chief, looks forward to adulthood. Turtle is a likeable hero, and his story is drawn against a detailed and revealing background of Indian home life before the ascendancy of the white man in the west.