Badge is delighted when an epidemic of whooping cough prevents his having to start his much dreaded first term at school—away from the life he knows and loves in his Tasmanian valley home. When it is arranged that his cousin Sam shall come and stay with him he looks forward with joy to having a friend at last. But Sam does not take easily to the rough and simple life that Badge and his family lead; his visit seems likely to be a bitter disappointment and failure.
Then an exciting discovery is made. Tracks are found of a heifer that had wandered away and been lost in the wilds some time ago, and they all set off on her trail: Dad and Liddle-ma, Sam and his two sisters, and of course, Badge. It is a thrilling expedition, leading them deep into the wilds of unexplored mountains; and in the course of it, Sam learns to pull his weight and to share in the joys of life in the open. When the prospect of school looms again, Badge can face it happily, for his friend will be with him.