From the moment Jonathan Whitman first glimpsed the portrait of the beautiful Catherine Rowland, painted in miniature and set within a golden locket, he was hopelessly in love. And when he stumbled across the young woman's brother, Phillip, lying bleeding and left for dead in the sodden English countryside, he had no idea the dramatic change his life would undergo. Jonathan, a tailor's apprentice, and Molly Hoskins, the tailor's daughter, hide Phillip until he is strong enough to travel to the coast and set sail with his family to their home in Boston. Once again Jonathan saves Phillip's life, only to find his too is in grave danger and he is forced to join the Rowlands on their voyage to Boston with the promise of a new life in the American Colonies.
But life in the Americas is fraught with its own perils as Jonathan and the Rowlands are faced with the threat of the untamed wilderness and swept up into the fight for freedom from England's tyrannical rule. Determined to prove his worth, Jonathan accompanies a party of surveyors only to fall victim to ambush by a vicious outlaw and his band of renegade Indians. Unbeknownst to all Jonathan escapes with his life, and smarting from his perceived betrayal he decides to remain with the Indians he comes to love. He is no longer a boy, but a changed man who emerges some time later, respected in his own right and walking among the Indians as one of their own. Until the hated outlaw once again brings tragedy to his life and Jonathan vows to avenge the man who, for the second time, took from him all that he once held dear.
Then Jonathan learns that Catherine has been taken captive by the very man he swore to kill, and her fate now rests in his hands. But Catherine would rather die than be rescued by the wild and rugged Indian, until she discovers a small bag tied around his neck, concealing an exquisite golden locket, a gift to a boy she once loved, and now home to the beautiful miniature cradled inside.