Twin Scots, Joshua and Joel Leslie -- closer than mere brothers -- journey down separate paths following a warning by Lakota Chief Red Cloud at Fort Laramie, Wyoming in 1866. Reverend Joel Leslie, a missionary, is captured by hostiles who torture and blind him as he travels to Montana. Medicine Hawk, a Lakota medicine man, helps him to escape, leading him over the mountains to live with a tribe of Crow. Embittered and despondent, he rejects his calling to be a missionary. He becomes a Crow medicine man, seeks vengeance against the Lakota that blinded him and takes a Crow wife. He grows to hate his brother that failed to rescue him. His twin brother, Joshua, deserts his garrison surgeon's post at Fort Laramie to find and rescue Joel. The mountains, blizzards, frostbite, pneumonia, mountain man Jack Hooker and gold fever interfere with his determination to find his brother. Driven by a raging hunger for gold, he and the mountain man's Shoshone squaw travel to South Pass -- there they live in fear of Hooker's revenge. Joel and Joshua continue to experience trials that further alienate them until their paths cross once more -- both changed -- both facing an uncertain future.
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