When the sixteen year old daughter of a prominent attorney is raped in a woodshed and a logger found shot the next morning, Deputy Sheriff Reuger London becomes embroiled in a war between environmentalists, the Ojibwa Indians fighting for their timber rights, and the ruthless son of a powerful logger. Ben Johnson is the biggest logger in the Northwoods and his son Cliff will soon take over the business. Logging is dying a slow death from environmental restrictions, and all that’s left are the scrub firs and jackpine. But far up in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota are trees called the Old Pines. These three hundred year Norwegian pines are priceless and Johnson Timber wants them.
A radical leader of Earth First, Tom Jorde, will do anything to stop the logging in the Boundary Waters. Then another logger is murdered and Jorde is implicated. The town pressures Reuger to stop the environmentalist and arrest an Indian, Tommy Toboken, for the rape of the girl. Tommy had saved his life once before and Reuger knows he is being setup. When he falls in love with the lawyer brought to town to defend Tom Jorde and realizes Johnson Timber is going to log out the Federally protected trees, Reuger is torn between old loyalties and what is right.