In 18th century Maine, twelve-year-old Matt is left alone in the wilderness to guard the new homestead while his father travels to collect the rest of the family. He's brave, but has never had to face such a big challenge on his own. When Matt is attacked by a swarm of bees, an Indian chief and his grandson, Attean, come to the rescue. Matt is eager to repay their kindness and the old man suggests that Matt teach Attean to read. Matt introduces his new friend to Robinson Crusoe and Attean schools Matt in wilderness survival and the ways of his people. But as winter approaches and Matt sees no signs of his father, he must make a heart-wrenching decision: shall he continue his vigil or give up hope of his family's return and move north with Attean's tribe?