Taunted at the white man's school (1893) because his mother is Indian, Jerry Foster runs away, moves in with outcast Indian John Stink whose broken English helps patch up a shattered morale. John's solution is that Jerry knife a cougar to prove his manhood (going on fourteen) but at the crucial moment the boy is unable to kill. Contemptible in John's eyes, he considers going to his colonial-housed Indian grandfather; then Mom shows up, says that they need him at the farm, that he should have told them why school was so painful. Readers will question that reluctance too, especially since the socio-psycho mixed feelings are so clearly and repeatedly--enunciated. A home-style ending that hints at rather than insists upon better relations but no new insights.