On the run from trouble in 1824 St. Louis, James Beckwourth joins an expedition out West. As a freed slave, he struggles for respect, but makes a name for himself as a fighter in engagements with hostile tribes. He is captured by the Crow, who mistake him for a lost member of their tribe, kidnapped as a child.
Beckwourth rises to prominence among the Crow due to his bravery and skill at warfare, becoming a chief among chiefs. But soon, after witnessing torture, threats and death, he begins to question his new life, and feels responsible for the atrocities happening around him.
Celebrated in his own time but forgotten since, this is the astonishing story of James Beckwourth: a freed slave who became a prominent war chief of the Crow tribe, and later returned to white society on his own terms. But always, his home was in the saddle, exploring and fighting on the frontier.