Matt and his father moved to Maine from Massachusetts alone, leaving behind Matt’s pregnant mother and sister. After preparing a home and land for the family, Matt’s father left alone to return to Massachusetts and pick up his mother, sister and new baby. Before leaving, Matt’s father left twelve-year-old Matt with a prized rifle and a very special watch. The watch had been passed down through the family and had belonged to Matt’s great-grandfather. His father left the watch to help keep Matt company since he would be all alone. The rifle belonged to Matt’s father and was a much better rifle than Matt’s own. His father wanted him to be as protected as possible, alone in the woods. The rifle is soon stolen when a stranger appears and insists that Matt let him spend the night in the cabin. This makes Matt’s survival that much more difficult. Much later in the story, Attean gives Matt his dog when the two part. Because of this meaningful gesture, Matt, in turn, gives Attean the family watch.