A California professor and some students explore the life of the American Indian, principally those of the Dakotas, and in their investigations, discover much about themselves. They find some terrible things, not least among them the desperate alcoholism and disease that seem almost epidemic among the Indians. There is great sadness in the rent fabric of their lives as they perch precariously between the white man's world and their own myths, ceremonies and religious beliefs. The authors, touched by their dilemma, sensitively examine the efforts of some leaders to bring the Indian into a healthier relationship with current realities without losing their sense of themselves as a people. There is also great beauty and wisdom in the words of their medicine men, whose quirky vision' both surprises and enlightens us. This is a journey into a culture built on a rhythmical harmony between man and nature, a world that is an anachronism--and, to the authors, shouldn't be. Exquisitely observed in every way, their book pulses with life; it's a vivid testament to man's struggle to preserve beauty and belief.