Thirteen-year-old Billy Knight leaves home to 'ride the rails' across Canada during the 1930s. His encounters with a wide cast of characters — including fellow drifters and drifters and grifters, kid gangs, crooks, idealists, ragtag philosophers, and railroad bulls, as well as everyday folk simply trying to get by — provide much more than he bargained for. And for the first time, he realizes that riding the rails is not just an adventure. It also speaks to the bravery of those drifting like tumbleweed across the country and seeking a better life. And just like the railway on which Billy travels, the narrative surges unstoppably forward, offering up an adventure both life-changing and unforgettable.