Based on Muriel Denison's book, an orphaned girl is found by a Mounty and helps to make peace with the Indians upset by the new railroad.
During the building of the Canadian Pacific railroad 1882-4 Indians massacred a wagon train. Mounty Inspector Angus Montague (Randolph Scott) finds traumatized Susannah Sheldon (Shirley Temple) and encourages her. Montague takes her to the room of Pat O'Hannegan (J. Farrell MacDonald) and meets Vicky Standing (Margaret Lockwood), daughter of Superintendent Andrew Standing (Moroni Olsen), who learns of the Indian raid. Pat sews clothes for Susannah. Chief Big Eagle (Maurice Moscovitch) in a powwow with Standing leaves Little Chief (Martin Good Rider) as a hostage for his promise. Big Eagle apologizes to Susannah. Little Chief rides his pony and calls Susannah papoose. Montague explains Indian attitudes toward women to Susannah. She makes a treaty with Little Chief, but smoking the pipe makes her sick. Big Eagle sends Wolf Pelt (Victor Jory) to find the Indians who raided the wagons. Susannah teaches Montague how to dance. Montague dances with Vicky. Little Chief makes Susannah walk behind him and leads her in a dance with a drum. Jealous Susannah says Vicky will leave soon, but Vicky considers being a pioneer woman. Susannah tells Pat that they must take care of Montague. Wolf Pelt brings the raiding Indians to Standing, but they are dead. Susannah asks Montague if he is going to marry Vicky; but Vicky is leaving and says good-bye to Montague.
Wolf Pelt tries to sell the raided horses to the railroad's Harlan Chambers (Lester Matthews), but they quarrel. Wolf Pelt complains to Big Eagle and calls for war. Montague sees signs of war and tells Standing. Susannah reports that Chambers threatened the Indians that soldiers would come. Little Wolf and Susannah become blood brothers, and he tells her that Wolf Pelt stole the horses. Indians burn a railroad bridge and attack the camp. Chambers appeals to Standing, who blames him. Indians attack the fort with flaming arrows. Susannah rides her pony, and an Indian takes her to captive Montague. Wolf Pelt takes Montague to a burning stake, but Susannah appeals to Big Eagle and says soldiers won't come. Susannah and Little Chief say that Wolf Pelt stole the horses, and Big Eagle learns of Little Chief's treaty with Susannah. The medicine man indicates that Wolf Pelt lied. Big Eagle arrests Wolf Pelt and frees Montague. In the final scene Susannah helps Big Eagle and Standing make a treaty, and they smoke the pipe.
A little girl bridges the two cultures while learning
how squaws are treated by proud braves, as the natives react to
the onslaught of white civilization foreshadowed by the life-changing