Twelve-year-old John Iron Horse, one of the few survivors of the Wounded Knee Massacre, is determined to preserve his Lakota culture and identity. However, he is forced to attend a government-run boarding school that aims to "Kill the Indian, save the man."
Carter Heath, a teacher at the school, is initially indifferent to the plight of his Native American students. However, he soon realizes that the school's policies are harmful and discriminatory. He becomes a vocal advocate for his students, but he faces resistance from the school administration and the local community.
Can the bond between an extraordinary student and a dedicated teacher survive in a world that pits red man against white? This is the question that hangs over the story. The answer is not easy, but it is ultimately hopeful. John and Carter's friendship provides a glimpse of a future where Native Americans and white Americans can live together in harmony.