Porter focuses on William Wallace's military attempts to free Scotland from British rule. The story is set in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century and exaggerates many historical details. Porter characterizes Wallace as a clever, chivalrous, and devoted leader. She emphasizes his valor in freeing Scotland from the tyrannical rule of the British king.
Porter's motivation is personal: she has spent her early childhood in Scotland and in the Preface recalls the tales of Wallace she heard when she was hardly six years old. This is an epic adventure tale that captures the heart of many Scottish people.
Porter was also known for crafting romantic fictional tales that were based in history, such as her 1803 novel Thaddeus of Warsaw. Both this novel and The Scottish Chiefs feature honorable, courageous who fight against aggression.