In 1756, a young Arapahoe child learns his father has been killed in battle and is taught the lesson that 'only rocks live forever'. The child is called Lame Beaver. 1795, a French-Canadian trapper named Pasquinel meets Lame Beaver and they begin trading - pelts for blankets, silver, beads, etc. from around the world. Lame Beaver says he'd like a gun next time the white man returns. The Pawnee also are interested in guns. A doctor introduces Pasquinel to a silver-smith to form a partnership to finance his trading trips. The silver-smith has a daughter, Lise, who is immediately captivated with the Canadian. When Pasquinel delivers the gun to the Pawnee chief, he meets Scottish mountain man, Alexander McKeag. Clay Basket, daughter of Lame Beaver, gives McKeag life-saving care when he is wounded.