Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) earns his living reading the world's news to rapt audiences in the territories of North Texas. A Civil War vet, he travels by horse to each settlement. On his travels, he discovers a little girl named Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) in the woods. She was kidnapped six years earlier by the Kiowa Indians, who murdered her parents and sister. Now 10, she doesn't speak English and even though her Kiowa family has been killed by soldiers, she's resistant to being rescued and leaving her Indian life and ways behind.
Kidd decides to deliver the somber little girl to her aunt and uncle in Castroville, Texas, but the journey is a dangerous one, filled with outlaws—including a group of men who offer Kidd money for possession of the girl. As they travel, Kidd tries to teach Johanna English words, including her English name, so she can transition her new life.
Based on the National Book Award finalist and bestselling novel by Paulette Jiles.