This is a simple but touching story of two lonely hearts, that of an estranged uncle and an orphaned nephew, finding each other and growing close despite their striking differences.
Jeremy Prine was 7 when his father was killed in an accident. Now he is 17, and his mother dies of cancer. She leaves him a letter, in which she tells him to go live with his long-lost uncle Aiden. First, he will have to find him; Aiden had disappeared after the accident in which Jeremy's father was killed and Aiden was disfigured. In the letter, Jeremy's mother warns the boy that Uncle Aiden will try to run him off, but urges him to stay with him nevertheless.
Jeremy obeys his mother's dying wish. All he has is a duffel bag and $63; all he knows is that his uncle is somewhere in Atlanta, working as a coal miner. The boy sets out from Tennessee and hitchhikes his way to Atlanta. He finds his uncle Aiden, now known as Snake, a gruff, badly scarred man who just wants to be left alone. He is not at all happy when Jeremy shows up, bringing old memories that Snake would much rather forget. However, when he hears that the boy is orphaned and has nobody else in the world, Snake feels obligated to take care of him. He gets him a job in the mines, and Jeremy begins the long, difficult process of proving it, to himself and to others, that he can handle the tough conditions and the hard work. Having led a quiet and sheltered life before, Jeremy has a kind, gentle spirit. It is not easy for him to find his place among the coarse miners, and, just like his mother warned, his uncle is doing his best to discourage him. But Jeremy perseveres, and eventually finds a way to Snake's heart.
This report prepared by Laura Southcombe