In the fall of 1776, Mr. Meeker must plan his usual trip to Verplancks Point to trade cattle in exchange for supplies needed by the family. Because "there's no one else to do it", Tim will accompany him. Along the way they are accosted by "cow-boys", Rebels purportedly intent on seeing that the cattle do not fall into Loyalist hands. A group of riders comes to Tim and his father's rescue, and escorts them safely to their relatives' home in North Salem (Chapter 7).
The riders who rescued Tim and his father are from the "Committee of Safety", which struggles to maintain order between the Rebels and Tories who "live almost in open warfare" in Westchester County. With the help of their relatives and the Committee escort, Tim and his father get safely to Verplancks Point, do their trading, and return to North Salem (Chapter 8).
Mr. Meeker and Tim must go the rest of the way home alone. Mr. Meeker rides on ahead to check for danger, while Tim drives the wagon. On one of his scouting forays, Mr. Meeker is captured by the "cow-boys". Tim is terrified when, later, he too is again accosted by the bandits, but he manages to convince them that the escort is arriving, and scares them off. Mr. Meeker does not return, and Tim, not knowing what to do, goes home alone (Chapter 9).
Now that both Mr. Meeker and Sam are gone, Tim and his mother must do all the work on the farm and at the tavern alone. Tim tries to reach Sam, but is unsuccessful. Since he has come home by himself with the wagon, Tim "(hasn't) felt like a boy anymore...(he has) changed...(is) acting more like a grownup". In the spring of 1777, British troops come to town, and skirmish with the Rebels in the area. Witnessing the brutality of the "Redcoats", Tim, who had definitely sympathized with the Loyalists after coming back from Verplancks, finds he "doesn't "feel much like being a Tory anymore" (Chapter 10).