This novel chronicles one year in the life of northwoods Native Americans in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Enriched by the author's first hand knowledge, learned while travelling among the Ojibway early in the 20th century, this fictionalised account is a valuable ethnological record incorporating legends and traditional lifeways of the northern Ojibway Indians. The plot centres around a young Ojibway man coming of age in a demanding physical, hence social, environment who, late in the year of this story, becomes badly scarred during a fight with a bear. Years late, Old Mosh, with the disfigured face and mauled leg, served as wilderness guide to the judge, the engineer, the banker, and the banker's teen-aged son -- John Peyton.
John L Peyton, a native of Proctor, Minnesota, had extensive contact with the Ojibway Indians early in the 20th century. He is well known in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin as an artist specialising in the northern forest: its creatures, people, places, and events.