As the story begins, not much time has passed since The Lost Warrior. Graystripe and Millie have reached a Thunderpath, and Graystripe rejoices because he can see the Highstones, meaning he is almost home. After crossing a few Thunderpaths, Graystripe realizes that where they are feels similar to the forest. He now knows how to get home. As Graystripe and Millie sleep under the stars, he tells her more about Clan life.A few days later, Graystripe and Millie are crossing another Thunderpath. Millie tenses up and is nearly hit by a monster, but Graystripe grabs her and pulls her out of the way. However, this causes them to fall into a nearby cornfield. While trying to find a way out, the two run into a combine and are separated in the ensuing chase. Graystripe ends up in a barn and meets a cat called Husker who attacks him. However, a she-cat intervenes and gets them to cooperate. Graystripe and Husker go out to the cornfield and find Millie, who has scratched her eyes on the corn. They return to the barn and Husker tries to drive Graystripe out again, but the she-cat points out that Millie is in no condition to travel. Graystripe uses some nearby moss to help Millie's eyes. Husker introduces the barn cats. The she-cat is his mate Moss, and her brother Splash lives with them. Also, Husker and Moss have four kits, Birdy, Pad, Raindrop and Little Mew. Husker explains that the cats used to live in the farmhouse with elderly Twolegs who were good to them, however both of them died. New Twolegs, who don't like cats, moved in, and brought dogs. Whenever the Twolegs see the cats, they sic the dogs on them, effectively making the cats prisoners in their own home.The next day, Graystripe is attacked by the dogs. Millie comes to his rescue by revealing that she can speak dog and telling the dogs to go away. She teaches the barn cats how to speak dog so that they can stand up to the dogs. The day after that, Graystripe sees the daughter of the Twolegs chasing a frog towards a pond. The parents of the girl see her, but are too far away to warn her. Worried that she may fall into the pond, Graystripe acts cute so that the girl will ignore the frog and pet him. The parents decide that the cats aren't all that bad. On the following day, Graystripe and Millie run into the Twolegs again. The young boy goes to kick a soccer ball at them, but his mom grabs him and tells him that the cats are their friends. Upon seeing this, Graystripe gets the idea to lead the family to the barn. Once there, he brings the kits down from the hayloft and the family befriends the cats. After knowing that the barn cats will have a good future, Graystripe and Millie depart.Several days later, Graystripe and Millie are still traveling. Graystripe starts to see familiar scenery, and continues onward with increasing horror. After seeing the Great Sycamore, Graystripe knows exactly where he is. He runs to the camp, and realizes that his home has been destroyed and that the Clan is gone.