Judge these people not as a race, but as individuals."" Reverend Mr. Newton's words have little meaning for 14-year-old Tom Malen who regards Fort Dearborn as the outlying buffer between civilization and Indian savagery. The Malens had endured an arduous journey in order to claim a portion of this fertile land for farming and fur trapping. Unlike many of their neighbors they refused to abandon it because of Indian attacks. When Tom is captured by the Senecas along with Tamrak, a Potawatomi Indian boy, he is forced to trust his first redskin. He takes courage from Tamrak's strength and grabs at the one chance to escape. Later, Tom's firsthand knowledge of Indian ways help prevent another attack on the settlement and changes his attitude toward the red man. An overworked theme in boys' books is given a fresh airing, through terse writing and rounded plot.