Loring MacKaye's work has included other novels for this age group set in various periods of American history (see Pat's New Worlds-1954, John of America- 1947, etc). Like those, this is a solid family adventure story and it is set in the Southwest of 1846-47 at a time when the Mexican War was one of the many distressing elements in the life of the Mentos- trader William, his wife and his two sons, Jimmy and Squirrel. Settling in Taos, the Mentos are looking forward to a steady life but there are interruptions. War clouds rumble- and an Apache taking a fancy to young Squirrel, captures him and takes him to his tribe for good luck. William is off on a trip so it is Jimmy who must set out with a friend to look for Squirrel. Their search is hazardous and long but successful. Yet with Squirrel found, they still must return to a besieged Taos before the finale, that brings all the Mentos together as New Mexicans, is finally reached.