Set in the Summer of 1910 in Australia, the film follows the story of Alan Marshall, a 14-year old motherless youth, as he stumbles from childhood toward the alluring, often forbidding world of adults.
This courageous young boy confronts the hardships and blows that life deals him, and for Alan the hammer blows are particularly savage as he is struck down by polio as an infant and unable to walk without crutches.
For Alan there is but one passion in life to become a great horseman just like his hero, the horse trainer East Driscoll and nothing will suppress his ambition.
During the course of the summer, Alan meets Grace McAlister, an intoxicating aristocratic English woman who falls in love with the much younger East Driscoll. Things inevitably take a turn towards the tragic when East Driscoll becomes determined to force Grace to leave her husband and run away with him.
Alan is then faced with the mystery of social taboos, the injustice of death of a dear friend, the destruction of his hero and the frighteningly dark and capricious side of human nature.
He faces the hard reality of his physical limitations, but finally, triumphantly, Alan discovers his own unique gifts as a writer.