The white cockade was the distinguishing insignia on the British soldier whom Joel Benton was determined to kill--because he had been the leader of the Indian raiding party which destroyed Joel's home and murdered his father. The setting of the story is a backwoods frontier settlement in the Delaware Valley in 1775. It was being continually troubled by attacks from the combined English and Indian forces. Joel, who takes up arms to protect the outpost, is a little too perfect. Although his stated age is fifteen, he thinks, acts, moves, and shoulders responsibility like a fully developed adult. As the story progresses, however, it does manage to rise above the run of the militia tales. Joel's gradual understanding of the drawbacks of violence, of the folly of vengeance, and of the importance of constructive action is meaningfully communicated and the battle scenes are described with unusual clarity.