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Soon after Lee Preston, his guide, Timber Cross, and stowaway Old Tarp arrive in the California redwood country, they meet Lynn O'Mally and her half-wolf dog, Powder. When Lee, who is in the woods for the first time, comments on the abundance of animal life, Lynn informs him that much of the forest has been destroyed by irresponsible lumber companies. While Lynn is introducing Lee to her uncle, Sandy McTavish, who runs the trading post, an Indian woman begs for help for Little Eagle, an Indian boy, who is caught in a bear trap. After shooting a mountain lion that is threatening Little Eagle, Lee releases the child from the trap. White Cloud, the boy's father, then gives Lee a blanket and pledges his friendship. Over time, Lee ingratiates himself into the community, and eventually, Lynn introduces him to her animal friends. Meanwhile, at the King Lumber Company, owner Howard King and his men discuss the best way to obtain the unspoiled land where Lynn and the Indians live. King decides to persuade Lee to help him survey the land and, to that end, takes him on a tour of his logging operation. One day, Sandy receives a wanted poster for a man named Leland Bruce, who is accused of manslaughter. Although Sandy recognizes Lee from the photograph on the poster, he tells no one what he has learned. Unaware that he is being used as a pawn, Lee agrees to accompany King's surveyors, but when one shoots Lynn's pet bear cub, he is forced to reveal his connection to King. Lynn is so angered by what she believes to be Lee's betrayal that he decides to leave the area. As he is packing to leave, the local residents beg him to take a petition to the governor that would require responsible logging practices in their part of the forest. Without revealing his reasons, Lee refuses. Only Sandy knows that Lee will not speak with the governor because he is a fugitive. Lee then confronts King, who refuses to change his logging procedures and then tries to kill Lee, who is saved by his dog, Ace. Some time later, Lee returns to the woods, having received the governor's approval of the petition. The marshal accompanying Lee tells Lynn and Sandy that he must stand trial, but that the evidence will prove Lee acted in self-defense.