Quehatch, a jnxed valley in Alaska, witnesses a lone boy's precarious acquaintance with the wilds. Nineteen, and using the last of his free time before going into partnership with his father, Jack Lauson comes to spend the first winter months in the cabin where miners and trappers had met their fates- and his existence there is an often thrilling revelation of the wild life around him. Among the animals he observes is his particular nemesis, the Pirate, an almost human wolverine. When the boy sprains his ankle, the Pirate almost gets the best of him, but Jack's will power sustains his desire to defy the jinx and he leaves Quehatch safely. Mr. McCracken has written in this vein before and wields a sure naturalist's pen.