Out of the deserts of the Southwest rides a band of renegade Apaches. Led by the mysterious warrior and holy man, Juliano, they have fled the reservation in a last-gasp effort to unite with other bands of free Indians in a violent uprising against the hated white man. In a remote corner of Utah Territory, a small company of Mormon settlers crosses the canyon of the Colorado, blasting a treacherous road through a steep, narrow notch in the imposing sandstone cliff s. Sent by command of their prophet, they hope to befriend the Indians and establish a new settlement near the San Juan River. And hidden deep in the labyrinthine, red rock canyons lives a mysterious and ancient people who inhabit the graceful cliff dwellings of their long-dead ancestors. Three widely different cultures will collide in a whirlwind of violence and betrayal; Philo Hatch and his Mormon brethren, in search of their abducted children; Juliano and his followers, seeking a sacred treasure once spoken of in ancient tribal legends; and the Recordkeepers, an ancient indigenous tribe isolated for centuries in the twisting canyons of the southwestern desert, a people who only wish to preserve their dying way of life and the sacred records they were entrusted with in a distant age.