Daniel, 11, Will, 9, and their father travel to Ohio in 1803 to claim their new land. After hastily building a cabin, Pa returns home to Pennsylvania to fetch Ma and the younger children, intending to come back five or six weeks later. The boys first treat their time alone as an adventure, exploring the woods and fishing in the creek.
However, as the weeks stretch into months with still no sign of their parents, the brothers must shift their focus to withstanding the winter. Luckily, a Native American trapper notices them and teaches them some basic survival skills. Still, as snow piles up around them, the youngsters realize how fierce the outdoors can be.
From an action-packed beginning to the challenges of a difficult winter, the suspense builds consistently. The boys’ struggle is portrayed realistically, without sugarcoating nature’s harshness. Daniel and Will also grow and mature as they learn to rely on themselves, their wits, and one another. The story, based on an actual incident that occurred in 1803, is a dynamic picture of survival in the wilderness.