Emma is nine on the day they meet. Akecheta is 12 and already the man of his house. He saves her life and tells her she belongs to him. As they grow up together on the frontier surrounding Manhattan, Kansas, he teaches her how to fish, hunt, and survive. She teaches him how to trust and how to share the burdens of his shameful past.
When he graduates from high school, an aunt sends him to university in the other Manhattan, in New York. Emma continues her schooling at home. At first, Akecheta is dazzled by New York. When a friend takes him to backroom poker games in the Bowery, he learns that Manhattan, New York, may be more deadly than the wilds of Kansas.
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