The story starts out with a father being hassled by British soldiers and he is French. He decides he has to move his family to the French territories which in the future will become the Louisiana purchase. He has two sons. His youngest son is quick and seems to move like lightning but doesn’t really get anything done. His older son move slowly but ensures he gets a lot done, but the father does not see this. He prefers his younger son who seems to be better in his eyes.
His other son is too young to send on this trip so he has no choice but to send his older son. His son starts out with the gold that his family has gotten from the sale of their possessions and heads west. He had many adventures and things that come up that he wants to deal with and stand on his own two feet. He travels by canoe most of the time, deals with rapids, and Indians plus meets new people. So traveling that way, he is becoming a man in his own right.
Almost to the destination he comes across some Indians that are friendly to them because they are French, but have in their captivity a Spanish boy who I believe is named Philip or something like that. The French boy cannot see the person remain where he is because he is going to be tortured and killed. He manages to somehow convince the Indian chief to take the gold he has and other supplies and trade for the boy. They come to the French settlement and come across a perfect farm and home for his family, but he doesn’t have the money. The boy he says vows to remain by his side. He goes back to where he had the Indians release the Spanish boy for some reason and something makes him search to see if he can find anything. He happens to come across the bag that the Indian chief put the money in, that has broken off. He was able to successfully buy the new home for his family all while proving to himself and others that he is a man. .