China, early 1930s. Ashley, 14, has grown up in China where his father, a doctor, built a hospital. He was, however, brought up by Uncle Sung, a Tibetan doctor.
The conflict between China and Japan forces them to leave the country hastily.
Because of the climate of hostility towards Westerners, Ashley becomes Zong Ho, Uncle Sung’s Tibetan mute son. When the fall and its storms reach the Himalayas, Uncle Sung goes away to get food supplies and he leaves Ashley all alone in a hut in the mountain. At daybreak, the weather is settled again but Uncle Sung has not returned. Freezing and starving, Ashley discovers huge footprints in front of the house… and faints.