The life story of a dispossessed Arikara Indian, Mildred Shoots-Eagle. Mildred, named Chephe (Little Shadow) because she was born during an eclipse of the sun, watches her tribe being eclipsed and her family killed despite the Arikaras' great efforts to live peacefully with Whites. The daughter of a medicine woman, Mildred is brought to live among them at the agency but retains her resentments and impassivity. Her being is bound by the four-colored hoop of the seasons, an openness to nature so powerful that civilization drives her to drink. Or perhaps it's rage for the deaths of her people ""that could only be diminished in the small deaths of drunkenness, where nothing mattered, no thoughts, no memories, no sadness, no grief."" Her revenge in action costs three deaths. While also disliking men, Mildred marries twice; her child dies of white man's whooping cough; she winds up alone on a little horse farm with her old pickup truck, still haunted by a medicine-wolf she's seen since childhood. And there's a last savage act of retaliation. . . . A fine advance over the lighter-hearted Dolly Purdo (1974).