It’s now January 1862 and in tiny Validation, Kansas, a boy of fifteen, Joss the stable hand, is missing and presumed run off to fight in the newly rumbling and ultimately shattering American Civil War. The town agrees that another young man, the eighteen- year- old amputee, Buck, The Mindwalker should be sent on his trail but he is away with the local Cheyenne learning about how to heal as the native peoples do. Either someone must go to him or he will come back of his own accord because he will sense something.
Buck travels across the state of Missouri by train, then north on a steamship up the mother of all rivers, the Mississippi, then down the Tennessee to arrive at Pittsburg Landing on the night of April Fifth. The ambush of the Confederate Army the next morning begins the slaughter of what would be called the Battle of Shiloh. Through the spyglass lent to him by The MacLaren, he sees that Joss has taken refuge behind a budding peach tree and is very good with his rifle.