Shy, small-for-his-age, twelve-year-old Gary Ryan, from Ohio, is spending the summer with his gruff grandmother in far-off Idaho. She owns a sheep ranch and is tending the sheep herself this summer. At first, Gary wishes he had never come. Then he discovers an injured coyote and meets Indus, a mysterious, young, Native American man, and Gary's summer changes from anxiety into mystery and magic. He develops a love for the spirit, freedom, and beauty of the West, along with learning about the stars and the coyote's habits. He hears comical, Native American coyote stories from Indus. Gary keeps secret his involvement with the coyote from his grandmother, until the day he realizes that he must be honest. And who is Indus? He appears and disappears as if by magic. Is he the young Native American in the legend Gary hears about? Gary discovers he's braver than he thought he was in the face of several dangers. And he returns to Ohio at the end of the summer a different boy.