Founded in the facts of the Klondike gold rush this takes its story from the association of Simon Colt and his compulsion to wander -- with gold as his long-hunted prize -- and Tlingit Tom, the Indian whom he taught, lived with and for whom he knew some degree of love as a brother. With his strike, in 1896 in western Canada, and the development of a boom town, Simon's quest is at an end and his relation with the woman Cynara becomes a battle which she is determined to win; while Tom, growing wealthy and committed to the town he has helped to found, is protected only by Simon's reputation even when he takes on the responsibility to save it from starvation in a desperate time. And when Canada moves in to claim the land and its valuable minerals, Tom is the outcast and the recipient of Simon's cast-off when he leaves Tom with Cynara -- and the unborn child. The birth and death of an isolated world is also the birth and death of a partnership and a friendship, denied by one who wants none and desired by another who does not get either, and forms a part of northern lore in its picture of the hardships, victories -- and defeats -- a cold, hard country can offer. In keeping with the history-mindedness of the previous Westering and Taos, this tells its story for a masculine audience.