Indigo is the last remnant of a desert Indian tribe at the turn of the century. Orphaned by a U.S. cavalry raid, the girl is captured and sent to boarding school. She escapes, only to be discovered by a monkey and its newly married mistress, Hattie Palmer. Indigo, fighting to keep her culture, and Hattie, fed up with her own, form an uneasy bond. No matter how many new worlds Hattie takes the girl to, Indigo longs to return to the tribal gardens in the dunes. The plot undergoes some awkward twists to accommodate that wish, but Silko has crafted a dreamlike tale out of one of the ugliest realities in American history.