A story of simple virtues presents a small segment of the Indian problem in Mexico with a fortunate solution for one family. Chela, her parents and her grandmother are Tarascans who live in the Michoacan Sierra and make a small living by selling pine shingles from the trees in the forest. But even this is shut off as a means of subsistence when a wealthy landowner usurps the cutting rights in the district. Though Chela and her family think this is a government and not a personal action, the truth of the matter is revealed to them through Chela's friendship with Lorrie Kimberley, an American boy whose father is a geologist. In the end the Kimberleys invite Chela to live with them and study in Mexico City- a step that means the abandoning of useless superstitions for the education that will help people to be able to stand up for their rights. But the accent is definitely on American help.