While remodeling their old farm house in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a boy and his father find an old diary. The journal belongs to a Sevy Anderson, a fourteen-year-old boy who lives in the 1880s, the lumberjack era. Sevy Anderson's father breaks his leg in a sawmill accident, and so the fourteen-year-old must take his place with the rough and tumble lumberjacks and river rats who harvested the forests of Wisconsin and Minnesota. The men of the Northwoods live hard and on the edge, and Sevy must prove his courage and his worth in the company of legends. Will he become the man he so longs to be? Will the other men ever accept him? And will he even survive his first winter in the Northwoods?