Twenty-year old Michigan farm boy Will Castor finds his life changed forever as he is thrust into the harsh realities of nineteenth-century combat on the last day of the battle of Chickamauga. Wounded physically and mentally, Will escapes the battlefield aided by a war weary Confederate deserter, but can't escape the echoes of death and horror that will remain with him for the rest of his life.
Returning to Michigan after the war, Will deals with guilt and recurring nightmares from his war experience, finding relief in the numbing effects of a bottle of whiskey and the bawdy houses of East Saginaw. He joins the rough and tumble world of Michigan's lumber boom as a land looker seeking the majestic white pine. Alone in the vast northern Michigan wilderness, he comes face to face with his demons and must make a life or death decision.