It is 1838 in the rolling hills of rural Tennessee where a small town of farmers have lived for generations. Suddenly a defenseless band of Cherokees ,who are being removed from their home in Georgia to land in Oklahoma on a forced march called the Trail of Tears, appear, and the soldiers guarding them temporarily set up camp in the lower meadow of the farm owned by Jamie’s Pa. The local community is fearful and suspicious of them.
Jamie, a thirteen old boy, motherless since the age of five, and Pip, his extraordinary dog from Africa, are asked to help Miss Ada and her son, Ed, supply the Cherokees with herbs, blankets and clothes during their short stay.
Through this encounter Jamie is able to learn more about these strange people, and this knowledge propels him into circumstances which are both exciting and heart-breaking.