It is early May 1678 when Catherwood and her one-year-old daughter, Elisabeth, get lost in the woods of the New World. Catherwood has recently immigrated from England with her husband, and they have settled near Albany, New York. Now a moment's inattention on a spring day has turned a short visit to the closest neighbors into a long sojourn in the wilderness. As summer comes, Catherwood travels through a landscape which is as harsh and unforgiving as it is majestic and lush. With the winter months quickly closing in, she searches frantically through the sparsely populated terrain for signs of human habitation as she and her child struggle to stay alive.