"There is no word in the Cheyenne language for forgiveness." On the day after Thanksgiving, 1868, George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh Cavalry attack a sleeping Cheyenne village on the banks of the Washita. Ironically, it later becomes known that the village attacked was that of Black Kettle, the foremost peace chief of the Cheyenne Nation. Amidst the heartless and senseless slaughter of men, women, and children, the Seventh Cavalry discovers a white woman living among the Cheyenne. Her name is Eden Murdoch, and she was presumed dead years before. While the army expects to use her for propaganda purposes and to refute the accusations that the Cheyenne village posed no threat to white settlers, Eden refuses to take part in any such propaganda: to acknowledge that the army "rescued" her from a "savage" society. Eden avoids giving the details of her story to any of the officers; she will say only that she considered her Cheyenne husband and his other wives family. Custer's young and inexperienced aidedecamp, Captain Brad Randall, is assigned the task of looking after Eden and locating her family. Beginning to doubt Custer's actions and struggling to act honorably, Brad is both fascinated and perplexed by Eden's eccentric behavior. He becomes obsessed with learning the truth behind Eden's bizarre journey, and when Eden begins to reveal it to him, his own future changes. Eden and Brad unexpectedly set in motion events that will echo all the way to the Little Bighorn.