The River Run is the third installment in The Legend of Big Heart collection. To fulfill the government’s policy to “destroy the Indian and save the man,” Alfred Swallow and his friends Orson and Junior are forced to leave their families and homes to attend a residential mission school. The students’ beautiful long hair is cut, and they are forbidden to speak their native language. Even the slightest infraction is severely punished. At the height of hopelessness, Alfred gets a ghostly visit from beyond the grave, telling him to run to the river. With a bounty on their heads, Alfred and his friends Orson and Junior plunge into a harrowing quest for freedom.
The boys must rely on their instincts and intelligence as their journey takes them to Sioux City, Iowa. Here they find work at a carnival, but their jobs lead them into the underground world of gangsters and crime, and ultimately to Alfred’s missing parents.