The story of a great Alaskan Chieftain, the Indian Larion, whose motto was ""Endure or die that your honour may live"" and whose pride and courage made him at first a great friend of the Russians and later their implacable enemy. He won great fame among the Yukon tribes when he gave away all his wealth and started life anew, he kidnaped and conquered Tjokwullik whose independence pleased him, and with the coming of the Russians returned their gifts with greater ones. When smallpox struck, he submitted to vaccination and Tjoxwullik lost her life in saving the Russians from shipwreck. Larion's dream was for a thunder stick and all his bargaining was toward this end but not even his second wife, the interpreter, Inaluk, could prevail on the white men to satisfy it. When his son stole one for him, when his daughters went to sleep with the newcomers, when Larion was betrayed, then he turned and massacred the Russians at Nulato. The saga of the Alaskan Indian and the clash of two cultures, the awkward attempts at mutual understanding, the breakdown of tribal rule and custom, the effects of vodka and the perilous peace -achieve a thoroughgoing presentation of the far north of the early 19th century.