Franklin Starlight is living on a farm in British Columbia, Canada, with his guardian as Richard Wagamese's Medicine Walk opens. Frank, as he is called, makes a trip over the mountains to Parson's Gap, a little British Columbia town where his father, Eldon, is waiting for him. Eldon is very sick, but he has some things to tell his son, and he also has a journey he wants to take.
Eldon tells Frank that they are going into the mountains, and Frank decides to go along and see what his father has to say. As they travel, Frank remembers his experiences of Eldon, most of which are far from positive. But Eldon knows that he “owes” his son much, and that is why they are spending these days in the wilderness.
Eldon takes Frank up to a cliff that features many Indian paintings, for he wants to show them to his son. They also stay at Becka Charlie's cabin one night. Becka understands what Eldon is about; she knows that he is going West with Frank to die and be buried according to Native American customs, the “warrior way.”
As the father and son continue to travel through the wilderness, Eldon relates the story of his life, and Frank learns the reasons for his father's behavior. Eventually the two come to a valley with a river running through it and mountains all around. Here, Eldon dies, and Frank buries him according to the warrior way. Then Frank returns to his guardian's farm with new insights into his father and his heritage.