The Minnesota winter is bitter cold. It seems very long to Kirsten and her family, who are crowded in their tiny log cabin. Kirsten looks forward to the days she's allowed outside to help her brother Lars with his trap line. One day she brings home a baby raccoon she's found in the woods, and trouble begins for Kirsten and her family. The raccoon gets loose and starts a fire that destroys the Larsons' home and everything in it. The future seems bleak, and the family is discouraged until Kirsten and Lars make a frightening but important discovery in the woods. What they find means better times for the Larsons.