After finding themselves at the mercy of the Army, far from Apache Territory and well on the trail to Colorado, Knocks Down must bring himself to trust the soldier, Pale Face Joe. But Joe disappears, and when ordered to dispose of the children or else, the other Army soldiers waste no time in depositing them at the nearest Catholic orphanage.
They manage to escape the evil orphanage along with a new pale face friend, Kid McCoy. But they are set upon by a gang of murdering claim jumpers who steal Cactus. With Kid McCoy’s help, Knocks Down goes after her. When they encounter a soldier who was responsible for their mother’s death, they realize he’s set on seeing them dead, as well. How can a boy defeat a battle-hardened soldier? Just when Knocks Down is about to give up, the biggest surprise of all changes everything…
“I say again, halt! I have orders to shoot!”
A woman’s voice answered. “Izdzaa, yiiltse! Pa-lease, please!”
Cactus Flower and I exchanged a look. Peering through the mesquite branches, I saw my mother, our mother, her outstretched hands bathed in the moonlight as the cloud slid from over it. She was making the Apache sign for peace. Cactus flower saw her, too. Before I could raise my hand back to cover her mouth, the word tore from her lips in a shriek that echoed down through the canyon and back again. “Ma!”
“Sentry, fire!” came another voice, followed abruptly by two booms. Booms which echoed the very one that had taken the life of Silver Sky, my father, so many winters ago.