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In 1862 the Civil War has come to the banks of the White River in Arkansas. For fifteen-year-old Johnny Gillette and his family it is a very intense and horrifying time. They live right on the river, and they know the Yankees will soon be traveling up the White from the Mississippi with their frightening gunboats in order to conquer the Rebels.

Johnny is an artist and his passion is painting birds and wildlife like his hero, Audubon. But Johnny’s father, who thinks his “scribbling” is a waste of his time, which could be better served on the farm, forbids his art while the war rages.

In the dark of night and with the ignorance of youth, Johnny gathers his art supplies and runs away downriver in a pirogue on an artist expedition and to be free of the shackles of the farm and his father. His adventure turns into more than he bargained for when he meets face to face with a “Wild Indian.”

The Quapaw Tribe was driven from their homeland in Arkansas in 1834. Now in 1862 an old warrior has returned to the state on a quest for a sacred object with mystical powers that he had left behind so many years ago. He will allow nothing to stand in his way. His old world and Johnny’s new one collide on the banks of the White River and the Grand Prairie of Arkansas. If the sacred object is recovered, the world will never be the same

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