When Cyrus Carter votes for 'Forever Wild' legislation in 1885 to preserve State land, the lumber companies attempt blackmail to prevent his reelection to the New York State Assembly. The plot almost derails his marriage. John, Mary Carter's oldest son, returns to the Adirondacks from Chicago in 1887 and a year later is hired by JJ Schuyler, a wealthy New York banker to head the construction of a great camp on the one thousand acres Schuyler has purchased from Paul Smith on the west side of Upper Saranac Lake. Schuyler's daughter, Ophelia, seduces John, but their affair is cut short when John and other locals are forbidden to hunt and fish on Schuyler's land during the eleven months of the year when the Schuylers do not occupy it. John, his paraplegic brother Tommy, and their friends take the law into their own hands with tragic consequences.