Peter Yorke is orphaned; he and his inheritance, a horse named Jumper are adopted by the town's Justice of the Peace. This man, a Quaker, solemn in demeanor to the point of near silence, governs Peter's life. Peter longs for excitement and soon finds some: word is, indentured servants have run away and the landowner is offering a weighty reward for their return. Peter begs to be involved, not understanding his master's reluctance to participate. After getting his way, Peter manages to bungle his role in the pursuit. Despite his mistakes, Peter soon finds himself the first to find a runaway. He's surprised to learn that it's a girl younger than he is; this new development causes him to question his role in the pursuit.