Chapter 12 Summary
True Son wakes up but does not know where he is at first. He was weak and on the edge of death, but now he is strong and free. He wonders if he is dead until he hears Half Arrow snoring next to him. Now True Son remembers what happened last night. When he tells Half Arrow he will be going back to the Indian village with him, Half Arrow whoops loudly and they begin their journey.
Eventually True Son runs out of energy and they have to stop; as they lie in the woods, they hear several search parties crossing the valley. The next morning, True Son is shivering with wet and cold, and he has not eaten for several days; but at the top of the mountain he looks out and knows he has finally escaped from his Peshtank prison. His only regret is leaving Gordie, and he asks Half Arrow to be his brother from now on.
The boys travel for many days though white man’s territory, land that once belonged to Indians. When they arrive at the final mountain range, they are daunted at the path that lies before them and look for a quicker way to get home. They see two boats owned by a trapper, which True Son does not want to take because they belong to someone else. Half Arrow reminds him that he has been corrupted. True Son has forgotten that Indians know it is not stealing to take back what has been taken from them.
Under cover of night, the boys steal one of the boats and float peacefully along the river until dawn, when they hide the dugout and themselves and sleep all day. That night they again float on the river until they see the lights of Fort Pitt ahead of them. Unlike the last time True Son was here, he feels “light and free” because he knows he is nearly home.