Through years of getting ready, Michael Blake spent nine months on writing the book and got it done in 1981.
The story happens in 1863, when US civil war was in ongoing. Knowing the potential amputation of his wounded leg, Union Army Officer Lieutenant John J. Dunbar turns suicidal and rides a horse to attract the enemy during a strange standoff. His act of suicide has the unexpected effect of rallying his comrades who win the battle later, thus, was misconstrued as bravery and earns him sympathy and fatherly love from General Tipton who rewards Dunbar with superior treatment that saves his leg, a horse named Cisco and his wish of a post on the frontier.
In Fort Hays, he is assigned to Fort Sedgewick by Major Fambrough who has gone crazy and later sent away. When Dunbar arrives at Fort Sedgewick along with the supply and Timmons, his teamster, he finds the Fort Sedgewick deserted. In fact, Captain Cargill’s column which was used to be posted there retreats to Fort Hays due to the scarcity of supply. Nevertheless, Dunbar stays. While waiting for the soldiers to come back, he sets in order the deserted fort. Timmons is killed on his way back to Fort Hays. His death and the deliration of Major Fambrough mind make the existence of Dunbar in Fort Sedgewick unknown to the Union. He is a good writer and writes journals to keep record of his stay at Fort Sedgewick.
Dunbar rides Cisco out to look for the Indians after some encounters with them. He runs into and saves Stands With A Fist, a white woman who’s captured and raised by Comanche and mourning for the death of her husband. As there are more and more interactions between Dunbar and Comanche, their mutual affection develops. Dunbar becomes a hero among the Comanche after he helps locate and hunt the buffalo