In 1937, a young Kainai girl named Ashtoh-Komi is kidnapped along with several other children from a village as part of a Canadian policy to educate Aboriginal children and assimilate them into Canadian/British society. She is taken to a boarding school, where she is forced to adopt Western Euro-centric ways and learn English, often under harsh treatment. Combined with the rejection of her peers (as she is a so-called "Bush Indian" who has not learnt white customs), Komi attempts to escape one night on foot with her little brother, Pita. However her plan is quickly foiled as the Indian Agent assigned to the school, Tiger, catches up and brings them back to the school; where Komi is subjected to further punishment. Eventually Rachel, Komi's only ally among the students, plead with the teachers to free her by promising to teach Komi to behave.