A young indentured Chinese boy is injured and left behind by his Oregon-bound wagon train. Trapped in an underground pit, incapacitated and terrified, his pleading is mistaken for that of an evil spirit by the Indians who hear him. Gifts of food and water appear as if from nowhere. The wailing moans frighten some and intrigue others, including a young slave girl who thinks he is the wanagi spirit of her lost warrior.
His struggle to survive occupies his mind, body and spirit with surprising results. A hundred and fifty years later the echoes of his struggle remain when a Lakota Indian advisor finds signs of his passage in the limestone cave.