US Army Sergeant William Tulliver came back from Vietnam in 1972 with brain trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and amnesia. In search of a purpose, he took his pickup truck, the Genral, and spent more than a year traveling the United States, finally settling in an abandoned hunting cabin in Beaver Creek, in the woods of northern Michigan. His only family includes two dogs named King and Queen and a loquacious parrot called Jester. The locals call him Wild Man Tully, fearful of his self-imposed isolation and his bizarre, antisocial behavior.
Teenage brothers Billy and Beau Bagwell form a covert friendship with the wild man in the woods, curious about this stranger in their midst. The boys risk great turmoil and challenge in their lives as they try to help Tully learn to read and write again.
As Tully earns their trust, he shares his strange adventures of an alligator attack, UFO, wild bears, an arm-wrestling contest with a crazy Indian named Moose, and Tullys lost love, an Indian girl named Silverbell. Through shared stories, songs and poems, the bond and respect between the recluse and the brothers grows stronger. With each encounter, the recruits in Tullys Company learn the folly of making superficial judgments about others as they discover the power of camaraderie and the dignity of kindness.