This is a fictional story based during the time of the Trail of Tears (1830s era).
Nitika is found as a baby on the brink of death by a traveling Cherokee tribe and taken in and raised by the chief and his wife, who recently lost a child of their own. Nitika is blessed as a baby by the medicine woman to have a destiny and far greater purpose than she could ever imagine.
As a young girl, Nitika starts to question why she is different from the rest of her tribe and seeks guidance from the medicine woman, who directs her to her mother, Adsila, to tell her the tale. When Nitika reaches adulthood, the US Army puts out a decree to wipe out all tribes, taking their land and selling those capable of work into slavery. Nitika's tribe is attacked and forced from their land while the men are out on a hunt.
As her world is torn apart, she learns to endure some of the most horrible experiences, which makes her stronger in the end. She is later sold into slavery, to a group of travelers who end up treating her more like a friend than a slave. Among their journeys she falls in love with one of her owners, ends up back with her tribe, and seeks revenge on the general who takes her mother as his own slave. By seeking to kill the general, she hopes to free her mother and end the war that has begun between the white men and her people.