The old stories tell of the great frigid lake, now known as Superior, that has swallowed many an Indian paddling out to find honor, redemption, or love. The City of Minneapolis has its own way of swallowing up Indians, too, and Jack Bordeaux, a young Ojibwe college student, wonders if he might become the next tragic hero of a modern urban Indian legend. Poverty. Abuse. Ignorance. Is a tribal scholarship Jack's escape? When another wave of Bordeaux family violence hits, a university professor, facing his own past and present challenges, provides refuge for Jack and his orphaned nephew. Soon after, Jack meets Isaac TwoBears, a Lakota carpenter, and Desiree Stark, a sensual powwow dancer with a trickster's dark secret, who competes with Isaac for Jack's heart. With a chance at love and a functional family life in reach, Jack must return to the broken home where it all began for the answer that will save him from drowning and finally set him free.