The story takes place in Redding, Connecticut during the Revolutionary War, about 1776 to 1779. Although there is war and other events in the New York and Massachusetts area, the Meekers, the family the story focuses on, live in Redding. They own a tavern, which still stands today, in the story. The cities of Redding and Verplancks Point, where the Meekers sold cattle every year, were real too. The part of the setting that wasn't real was very realistic. It was exactly like it would have been during that time period, with the taverns, huts, properties, and houses. It was very easy to imagine and picture in my mind, the way it was described. The authors did a great job creating the setting.
There are many characters in the story, but the main characters are Tim and Sam Meeker. The story focuses on their lives during the Revolutionary War. Tim is the younger of the two brothers. He is fourteen at the beginning of the story, while Sam is attending college at Yale. Tim is clever, responsible, and hard working. He is quieter than Sam who is loud and bold like his father. Tim admires his older brother and tries to impress Sam and prove himself to him. As the story goes on Tim matures a lot, especially when he has to run the tavern and manage businesses. At the end of the story, he thinks he is equal to Sam. Tim's main problem is that Sam is at war and his father has been kidnapped by cow - thieves, and because of this he is with his mother to take care of everything by themselves. Even though his father dies on a prison ship and Sam is publicly shot, Tim matures and takes care of the tavern and his mother. They get through the war and move to Pennsylvania. The Meekers were fictional people in the story, but there were many historical people in it. Some famous people involved in the story were General Putnam and Colonel Read. There were many other characters, fictional and historical, who were involved in the plot of the story.