by Victoria McKernan

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This is the story of Aidan and Maddy, two orphans who are on the verge of starvation out on the Kansas prairie when a wagon train comes by and "rescues" them, in return for a year of work at a logging camp near Seattle. Off on the adventure of the Oregon Trail, Aidan and Maddy actually have an easier life than they have ever known before. But, of course, the westward journey is fraught with danger, hardship, and difficult relationships, and events catch up with the kids. While attempting to ford a river, Aidan's life is saved by some young Native American men. Aidan's new friends beg him to help get them a vaccine for the devil's paintbox or smallpox. (It was illegal at that time for Indians to be vaccinated.) Aidan has to weigh his sense of justice against his desire to keep to himself. Once in Seattle, Aidan's life in the logging camp is vividly described and he becomes a prizefighter in the camps. There is no shortage of adventure in this fascinating tale.

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