During the Civil War, twelve-year-old Dillon Childs's father joins the Confederacy and asks Reverend Jeremiah Culpepper to take Dillon and his six-year-old sister, Jenny, to St. Louis to live with their uncle. The uncle has also joined the Confederacy, leaving the two children alone and destitute in the huge city, where orphaned and abandoned children roam the streets. Dillon, scared for his little sister and what could happen to her, comes to the conclusion they would be better off alone, and sets out to walk back to their home on Current River. Along the way, they run into Lucifer Deal, who Dillon calls Ol'Slantface because of a disfigurement. Deal, a slave trader, has expanded his business to include young boys he can sell to ship's captains for free labor. Dillon learns Reverend Culpepper and Ol' Slantface are in cahoots and are holding the boys at Dillon's home. He finds a way to get Jenny to safety, but Culpepper, determined to be rid of Dillon and Ol'Slantface, ambush them as they come back from buying supplies. Dillon escapes, but from that point on, his life becomes a fight to survive. Knowing he'll never be safe until the Reverend is captured or dead, Dillon and Ol' Slantface join forces and along with a troop of soldiers, journey to a tropical island, brave the arid desert lands to bring a man to justice, if only Dillon can stay alive long enough to accomplish his goal.
Things don't stay peaceful for long in Wind River as rival cattlemen face off against each other -- and the mysterious powers of Medicine Creek. Tensions are running high when Deputy Billy Casebolt is cured of a mysterious fever by the mystical stream. But when cattle start disappearing and bullets start flying, the shocking truth behind the rustlers and the legend of Medicine Creek surface at last.
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