When young Sonny Tompkins is sent to Utah to live with his Uncle Buck while his Dad serves a two year sentence for a crime he didnt commit, he leaves his boyhood behind and embarks upon a series of adventures that will make him older than his years. The time is 1937 and work is nonexistent for Buck and his partner, Billy May. What little cash they have comes from selling tanned skins, a fraudulent replica of Butch Cassidys six-shooter, and horses.
Sonny enrolls in school where he meets Chipeta, a member of the Ute tribe, and falls in love. When Chipetas family moves away, he is heartbroken and vows they will meet again. His many exciting adventures include becoming an accomplished horse trainer, being mauled by a lion, capturing an arsonist, and delivering a baby.
After Billy dies, Buck moves into town with a new bride. Sonny is left alone, but he soon learns that a man controls his own destiny, that nothing is out of reach if you want it bad enough.