In the early 1800s, there is a great meeting of the Blackfoot Tribe. Their great chief, buffalo-garbed shaman named Grey Cloud, tells the tribe of the coming palefaces and their bringing of sickness and death. But he also sees a hero rising from death; one that will not look like any Indian, and will be despised by his own people. Hours later, the tribe rides forth to fight the palefaces. They assault a wagon train, and over the course of the fight, one brave grabs a small red-haired baby. The brave is about to kill the baby when Chief Grey Cloud stops him. Grey Cloud makes a promise to raise the red-haired child as his own.
Grey Cloud keeps his promise, and over the years the baby grows up to become a teenager. Named Firehair, the young boy learns of the ways of the Blackfoot Tribe. Though Firehair is named the son of the chief, the other youngsters in the tribe to not make friends with him. This pushes Firehair to try to be stronger and faster than the other braves. When he comes of age, the chief sends his son into the mountains to cleanse himself and become a man. One tribe member, however, is worried when he leaves: beautiful young Evening Star asks their god Na’pi to watch over him.
Firehair builds his sweat lodge, and over the five days receives visions of the white man, and of his destiny to be the bridge between the two. Returning to the tribe, he asks to ride off and find the white man. The chief agrees, and sends him to a nearby town. There, Firehair meets hatred against the Indians as he is attacked. The local sheriff breaks up the fight, but Firehair flees. The townspeople give chase as they fire upon him. Climbing a cliff-face, Firehair is saved by Grey Cloud and Evening Star. Firehair is wounded, however, and while in fever he witnesses a vision of the past, given to him by the markings in the caves. Firehair eventually wakes, but his dreams cause him to wonder if either the tribe or the town is his real home.