Spring of 1848, somewhere along the San Carlos River, Arizona, Comancheros attack and massacre three families bound for the riches of California. Protected by his mother's body, an infant is the lone survivor. Found by Mescalero Apache, they adopted and later named him Kilchii. Reared by the clan's chief, Sani, he learns the ways of the Apache. When Cochise calls for all the Apache to join him to drive the white-eyes from their land, Sani takes Kilchii, now a young warrior, and a box that contains Kilchii's heritage, to the San Xavier Mission.