2h 15min | Family Drama | Writer, Thadd Turner
When fourteen year old Amber Lockhardt’s father is tragically killed in a railroad accident leaving her mother without means to support their family of four, Amber, the eldest daughter, is sent to 1890’s Kansas with her Uncle John and his wife., Grizelda.
Grizelda, having a difficult pregnancy with her first child, is uncomfortable accepting Amber into her growing home. She verbally abuses her and treats Amber with unkindness. Still suffering from the loss of her father, Amber endures, partly through the vibrant song of a busy meadowlark outside her window and solace in a book of poems her father gave her.
Amber makes friends with a neighboring farm boy, Clint, who finds himself wishing for more than just a budding friendship. After the difficult birth of twins, Aunt Grizelda sinks further into her own despair and depression. Amber becomes the full brunt of her misery.
An old traveling Indian appears one day and offers to trade Amber a half-starved horse for her precious book. Amber is reluctant, but the thought of having another friend to ease her pain and suffering overwhelms Amber, and she reluctantly makes the trade. The old Indian promises to return Amber’s bible one day when "she has found her way". Amber names the little mustang horse ‘Kickapoo’ and cares for him, they become close, as she rides the country side escaping her torment at home. She now visits her neighbor Clint more often, and they become closer, then a surprise visit by kindly Uncle Karl bolsters Amber’s resolve to continue to endure Grizelda.
Time passes and then one day Amber is blamed for the accidental drowning of her young cousin three-year-old Lucy. Aunt Grizelda’s rage is fueled anew, she sells Kickapoo to a passing trader and Amber is heartbroken. She destroys a favorite yellow dress of Amber’s, worn at her father's funeral. Amber is finally pushed beyond her level of tolerance and flees the farm, she goes to the city, where she finds boarding and employment with a local pharmacist, his ill wife, and their young daughter who becomes Amber’s friend. She falls for a local boy of wealth named Bryan, and just as Amber seems to have finally found happiness in her life, tragedy strikes again when the pharmacist’s wife dies, leaving Amber homeless once more.
Amber resolves to find Uncle Karl, now homesteading in Oklahoma. Arriving by stagecoach at a crossroads tavern near her destiny, Amber's belongings are stolen by another passenger. Left without cash or clothing, Amber is forced to work for the dishonest tavern owner for food and lodging. She endures and befriends an injured dog, nursing him back to health. The old Indian from years earlier appears again. He returns Amber’s book in exchange for the healed dog, telling Amber that she has fulfilled her promise of faith and loyalty. Amber is momentarily happy.
As now, Uncle Karl arrives, freeing Amber from her servitude, and delivering the ultimate gift of love, as Amber finally finds compassion and acceptance, and freedom to pursue her relationship with Clint.
Young girl is sent to live with her unstable aunt and misguided uncle, where she faces hardships on the turn of the century American frontier while seeking love and acceptance.