After Cloyd finds Walter trapped and gravely injured by an explosion at the mine, he manages to free him and carry him back to camp. Knowing that the old man will die if he doesn't get medical attention soon, he embarks on a dangerous journey by horseback to a spot where he knows a helicopter will be coming to pick up the remains of the grizzly illegally shot by Rusty. Cloyd arrives just in time to intercept the helicopter, and as the crew flies to rescue Walter, Cloyd has a chance to expose Rusty's treachery, but, having had enough of the "poison" of "revenge", he decides to remain silent (Ch.20).
As Walter recuperates in the hospital, Cloyd returns to school, having decided to apply himself this time. Cloyd visits Walter regularly, giving him the bearstone, his most prized possession. When the old man's improvement suddently ceases when he learns he will have to go to a nursing home because he cannot afford the help he will need to stay on the ranch, Cloyd decides to live with him to provide the help he needs. Cloyd's decision is difficult, because his social worker has told him things have improved enough with his own family to allow him to return home, which is what he has always wanted, but the boy chooses to remain loyal to the old man who was like a father to him instead (Ch.21).
Cloyd helps Walter on the ranch as he recovers, and in a final act of reparation, saves up and buys twenty-two peach seedlings to replace the ones he ruined previously in a rage (Ch.22).