Set in England in the 1830's, this story of Johnny Fossley and his father Robert is meant to capture the spirit of the times which gave birth to the circus. The life of the Fossleys was a hazardous and insecure one. They were driven to perform feats which involved the risk of life, were bounded from town to town, and harassed by vicious competitors. But the spirit of the circus, half vagabond, half artist was even then indomitable and the Fossleys' determination to survive resulted in an early family circus which consisted mainly of daring animal stunts. A rather ordinary story is given dimension here by the use of interesting and well integrated historical detail.