Two branches of the McAllister family lead very different lives on cattle stations in Central Australia. Rob, a stickler for correctness, manages a wealthy, company-owned property while his easygoing brother Sandy struggles to support his wife and son on an impoverished leasehold. When tragedy throws the families together, ultimately driving them even further apart, it's Sandy's young son Jim who suffers the most.
Left to rebuild his shattered world, he falls back on the larger-than-life station characters and the comfort of horses. This is tough country, where personal hardship is kept in perspective by drought, fire and isolation. The times are just as unforgiving, and as the years pass, Jim discovers that he must pay for his father's mistake as well as his own. Yet this harshly beautiful land is full of promise, a source of strength to Jim on his road from innocence to independence.