Fourteen-year-old Cloyd Atcitty has been skipping school for years. He's run away from a group home for Native American boys, and is now being sent to work for Walter Landis, an old rancher on an isolated Colorado farm.
In a cave above the ranch, Cloyd finds a turquoise carving of a bear. Knowing that his people, the Utes, have a special relationship with bears, he keeps the small stone, hoping it will bring him strength. A terrible blow-up with Walter ends in near disaster, but the old man offers Cloyd one last chance: they'll ride together into the mountains to reopen Walter's abandoned gold mine. Among the high peaks that harbor Colorado's last grizzlies, Cloyd's courage and loyalty will be tested to the limit.