As this book opens, Archilde Leon has just returned from the big city to his father's ranch on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. The story that unfolds captures the intense and varied conflicts that already characterised reservation life in 1936, when this remarkable novel was first published. Educated at a federal Indian boarding school, Archilde is torn not only between white and Indian cultures but between love for his Spanish father and his Indian mother, who in her old age is rejecting white culture and religion to return to the ways of her people. Archilde's young contemporaries meanwhile are succumbing to the destructive influence of reservation life, growing increasingly uprooted, dissolute, hopeless. Although Archilde plans to leave the reservation after a brief visit, his entanglements delay his departure until he faces destruction by the white man's law.