The villain of this piece is a man who seems to have some amount of power over a nearby tribe, and uses it for ill. The tribe has been praying for a wrathful spirit to destroy the man, and while the men laugh and mock this, the news that Tomahawk is coming is met with more fear by them. The leader thinks that even should the Natives tell Tom of their mistreatment, he could find no proof as he plans to treat them well while he is there. Now we jump to Tom and Dan, who are told of the upcoming arrival of the wrathful spirit, and a few other things, such as the lack of rain and the cruelty of the colonel.
As night falls a glowing being rides up on a glowing horse and shoots an arrow at Tom, or maybe just past him since I know not the skill of the archer. Tom tells the others to hide and he and his friend run after the specter. However fast they run though, the distance between them and their quarry remains the same. When Tom throws his knife it passes through the figure, and it turns to mock him, and then fades from view. Tom is now outside of the fort ran by the cruel colonel. As they contemplate things the colonel comes running from his cabin, yelling about a ghost. He complains that he had been shot with and arrow, and shows a small wound on his arm, and says the weapon has vanished.
Well they go to their cabin, and instead of going inside they wait, and soon men come, talking of killing Tom. Dan and his friend surprise their would be ambushers, but after the leader of the group is knocked down he pulls out a gun. But from behind Tom appeared the spirit once more, and it shot an arrow again. Dan said the arrow was for Tom, but we can’t be sure as the panel is unclear. Tom however moves and it hits and kills the man with the gun instead. It flees, they follow, it disappears.
The colonel is frightened, as are his men, and all refuse to go with Tom when he investigates the trail in the morning. Dan and he soon find a phosphorus rock, and then a cave of it. They also find the figure they had followed, and discover it was made of woven reeds. As the glowing figure would catch all attention the actual fiend would be able to move it with a long stick or the like and not be seen. Tom voices his suspicion that the colonel is the man behind this ruse, and the wound he had received was from when Tom threw his knife at the reed figure.
Then they hear voices, and the men of the fort approach. The colonel cries for them to slay Tom and Dan, and that none would know it wasn’t the spirit. But it wasn’t the real ones they shot at, but they reeds re-woven to look like our boys in the dark. The men fled in fear, and together they took down the rotten commander. Taking the tale to those higher in command, the man is imprisoned, and the story ends.
Tom is reporting to a mayor of a frontier town, letting him know a tribe of hostile natives have changed direction as so the town is safe. There is quite a commotion in town that catches the eye of the frontiersman. The smith, Jamie Bean, had just invented a machine that moved forward powered by steam. The wagon also had a dream powered cannon upon it, but he let the pressure get too high, and the thing exploded.
Tom and Dan help the man back to his shop, while the townsfolk whisper harsh words about him. Can’t exactly blame the folks as it seems he has caused many accidents, and put himself and other in danger many times. Later that day he is told that they twin will forgwt everything if Jamie will just not invent things ever again, but he refuses, saying he’ll move to another town.
Tom and Dan leave before Jamie, but the soon hear his wagon, and they head back to warn him he is heading toward the hostile tribe. It is too late however and even as they speak they are being watched. They were able to scare off their attackers when the fifht began, by using the cannon on the wagon to scare them off. Dan and his friend must head out to warn a nearby fort, and for some reason Jaime just plans to stay where he is. In till he bemoans the fact that if he had another boiler he could take them up river faster. So Tom takes out some pota and with some of the scrap Jamie had brought with him turned it into a sort of boiler. Then they change the wagon into a rough raft, and viola thw first steamboat.
When they arrive at their destination however they find that the fort had been taken by the natives. Aiming to take it back Tom builds a stockade around the wagon, making a sort of tank. Knowing the doors to the fort were too strong to run down Tom heats the fire in the modified pots so the pressure built and it blew, opening the fort to them. The fort was soon recaptured and Jamie moved in, well he built a home just outside for the safety of the people. He planned to invent a safety valve, as the boilers were too dangerous for regular use.
Tom is speaking with a man who had just inherited a section of forest, and now he wants to clear it and open it for settlers. He has asks Tom there to guide a survey crew. We should note the man has a cane, as the tile of this is “The Man with a Cane” As a precaution the man sends gifts to be given to any natives they encounter. It seems to work as they pass by very quickly after giving the men the boxes. That night though Tom notes that they are being followed, and by the footprints the followers belong to the tribe of Tall Man, who is a known troublemaker.
The next day they are shot at, and once again it is one of Tall Man’s braves. Tom deduces that the chief wants to be on the warpath with them. They start to look for the brave and when they find him Tom hits the rifle in his hand to the ground with his tomahawk. He lets the man flee as he looks over the weapon, which still had packing oil on it. This means that the weapon had just arrived. Tom said he was gonna follow the native that fled and sent Dan to warn the others. Arriving back Dan noes many crates are missing and as he is about to investigate gets knocked out by people clearly wearing tricorner hats. The two then carry Dan into the woods.
Apparently having failed to find the man who shot at them Tom returns back and can’t find his young friend. He asks the men if they have seen Dan, and notices what Dan had, and checks the bottom crates, finding more guns. He sees the markings of a cane, and figures that Dan had noticed the fact they were smuggling weapons and had the man who hired them had taken Dan. While talking to the men about the cane-marks something strikes him and he suddenly says that Dan is being held prisoner at Tall Man’s village. He hurries to the village and frees Dan, who confirms the man with the cane was behind the smuggling.
Then there is a fierce battle as Dan and Tom fight their way out suddenly joined by the tribes nearby who are friends with our frontier’s man. Naturally our side wins and Tom points out that they real man with the cane truly was good, and probably was the man who they met with before they began, and the smuggler was his twin, who had taken his place in order to stop the project and keep the land and money going into the project form himself. He figured out by the fact the twin put little weight on the cane, and so left small impressions.