Generations have come and gone since few locked their front doors and being sent to the Principals office was a serious offense. It is 1944.
Fifteen year old IAN MCKENZIE has lost his father to war. Confused and acting out, Ian clashes with the law and is sent to a 'correctional camp'. Young Ian will have an experience with PETTY OFFICER A.J. ACKERMAN, his cabin counselor, that will tone and set the rest of his life.
Indifferent and hostile, Ian resists Ackerman's Boot Camp discipline, which his cabin mates resent. Whatever he does wrong, they all suffer the consequences. Deerslayer cabin, relegated to Latrine Duty, is doomed for diplomatic challenge from the ground up.
A casualty of war, Ackerman's rebellious body suffers as some neurological disorder controls him, terrifying all who witness the occurrence. While Ian challenges this dark fear of A.J., it is that fear that keeps the other boys from overstepping parameters of behavior.
CAMP DIRECTOR, HENRY HYATT, hovers in dark crevices, scanning the young men like a spider eyeing prey.
An alcoholic cast-off from military service, Hyatt calls for young volunteers to build a fireplace for the new Lodge.
The Deerslayers, forced to learn how to build the fireplace on their own, initially fail through indifference.
A pretty girl, AMY, delivers dairy products to the camp. To Ian, she becomes the fantasy of something to hope for, the North Star to a sailor lost at sea…
With A.J., growing weaker, unable to take care of his needs, Ian takes care of him and administers morphine, until completion of the fireplace, or until Ackerman dies, leaving a legacy for Ian's leadership. With a wind of purpose they complete an impressive monument to the best of what they came to be in one short summer.
Where Camp Roswell once hugged the waters of Puget Sound, an inspired stone fireplace that rests on a moss covered concrete footing. If you remove the ferns and blackberries wrapped around its trunk, and the moss at its base, initials of the fireplace builders are there; NAT, CURT, MARVIN, IAN, A.J. ACKERMAN …USN 1944