When fourteen-year-old Carson Fielding bought his first horse from Magnus Yarborough, it became clear that the teenager was a better judge of horses than the rich landowner was of humans. Years later, Carson, now a skilled and respected horse trainer, grudgingly agrees to train Magnus's horses and teach his wife to ride. But as Carson becomes disaffected with the power-hungry Magnus, he also grows more and more attracted to the rancher's wife, and their relationship sets off a violent chain of events that unsettles their quiet reservation border town in South Dakota. Thrown into the drama are Earl Walks Alone, an Indian trying to study his way out of the reservation and into college, and Willi, a German exchange student confronting his family's troubled history.
In this unforgettable story of horses, love, and life, Carson and the entire ensemble of characters learn, in very different ways, about the strong bonds that connect people to each other and to the land on which they live.