Clayton’s biggest fear becomes his realty. He sees his culture fading like autumn leaves falling to the earth with no hope of rejuvenating itself like it does when spring arrives and everything starts its journey all over again.
Elizabeth, Clayton’s daughter and mother of Jonathon and Richard, is married to Sakarja Skovdahl, who drinks a lot and frequently beats her. She eventually leaves him and moves in with her parents. Clayton takes on the father role for the boys by teaching them how to fish, speak Tlingit, and sing and dance. When Jonathon goes off to school, Clayton is proud because he knows an education will prove beneficial in addition to his time-honored teachings. Little does he know Jonathan will be punished for speaking the native tongue. When Jonathon returns for the summer to help his grandfather at fish camp, Clayton is surprised when Jonathan no longer has a desire to speak his own language. After explicit orders from his grandfather not to use the motors for fishing, Jonathon uses them anyway.
Cedric Moore moves to Dry Bay looking for work. He fights inner demons that haunt him because of his war experiences. Despite his inner battles, Cedric does good deeds and he likes the Tlingit culture and people. After helping one of her sons, he forms a relationship with Elizabeth, who he passionately loves.