Joe Willie Wolfchild is on the verge of becoming a World Champion rodeo cowboy when a legendary bull cripples him. At the same time, in the same city, Claire Hartley is brutally assaulted and her 14-year-old son, Aiden, is critically injured during a burglary. The young Ojibway-Sioux man, the black single mother and her mulatto son find their lives irrevocably changed. Joe Willie, a rodeo cowboy since he was a child, smolders in angry silence over a deformed left arm and a limp that make it impossible for him to compete. Claire, a victim of numerous bad relationships, withdraws from men and swears a bitter celibacy. Aiden gains notoriety among his criminal peers and slips into a self-destructive spiral of drugs and violence.