It’s 1967, ‘The Summer of Love’, but swinging London is far, far away. We’re in the starkly beautiful landscape of the Scottish Highlands, on a remote sheep-farm, where 11 year old Dean O’Donal is sent to live with his lonely Aunt Fay and his dour Uncle John, after his parents are killed in a car accident.
Life on the farm is a bit of a shock for Dean. It may be 1967, but out in the sticks, it might as well be 1927. The farmhouse is spartan - there’s no TV, just a wind-up gramophone and a Bakelite radio - so Dean creates a vivid fantasy world for himself of feuding Cowboys and Indians and gunfights at the OK Corral.
But life isn’t all fun and games. Uncle John rules the roost like an Old Testament prophet, forever quoting scripture at Dean like a threat, or sniping at his dead parents. Fay tries to stick up for the boy, but it’s as if her spirit has been ground down by the unrelenting weight of her husband’s self-righteousness. A striking woman in her late 30s, trapped in what seems a loveless marriage, she’s in danger of growing old before her time.
Crashing into this lonely world, at the wheel of a big red Chevrolet, comes a mysterious, exotic stranger. Tall, lean and handsome, in Stetson, blue jeans and cowboys boots, he’s like Dean’s fantasy made flesh. He says his name is Wez McKendrick, a U.S. Marine Sergeant on leave from his Air Base down South. But behind his easy smile, there’s more to him than meets the eye.
Dean doesn’t know it yet, but Wez isn’t just a U.S. Marine, he’s a Native American Indian; a full-blood Lakota Sioux from Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, who can trace his ancestors back to Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull... or so he says. Wez is full of tall tales, but Fay and Dean can’t help falling under his spell. He even manages to seduce Uncle John, who reluctantly takes Wez on as a hired-hand.
So begins the happiest, saddest summer of Dean’s life - an Indian Summer, touched by romance and magic, laughter, tears and the power of Nature - a summer that will change Dean, Uncle John, and most of all Fay, forever.