The Moon When Water Freezes

Living alone with his state-ranger mother in Thermopolis, Wyoming, young
Nick yearns to know what’s become of his father who abandoned the family for the oil fields of Alaska. Not far away on the Shoshone Reservation in the Wind River Mountains, an equally youthful Robert Toy too lives alone with his mother in a tarpaper shack; he too wonders and worries about his rodeo-riding father who left the family for the gas fields of Rock Springs and never returned. A chance encounter at a basketball game brings serious trouble for both boys, and soon they find themselves running from the law into the high mountains in late fall, a time the Cheyenne call the moon when water freezes.

Pursued by the county Sheriff, one lonely white boy and one angry Indian youth set off to Alaska on a desperate search for self-knowledge. Little do they know that a dangerous car accident and a major fall snowstorm will conspire to bring them face to face with the phantom figure of Parker Wise, an “old ways” Shoshone Indian who hunts elk from horseback. This small group in near white-out conditions—an old ways Indian, two lonely teenage boys, a big riding horse named Mystery Dog, and two mules, Crooke and Custer, head off to “above the tree line”, where their intertwined lives collide with the necessity to survive, a confrontation with death, and the possibility of love and companionship.