The film opens with Eagle Boy, a young man who is on a vision quest. It then cuts to the present where seventeen-year-old Lakota named Shane Chasing Horse is living on the Pine Ridge reservation. He is in trouble because he owes some money to a local gang, money he used to buy a beautiful ring for Mae Little Wounded, a girl he likes. Meanwhile, his mother asks him to drive his grandfather Grandpa Pete Chasing Horse, a storyteller, down to the powwow. Shane is reluctant. However, when the gang comes after him, Shane changes is mind and heads out to the powwow with his grandfather, who agrees to give him his truck once they reach the powwow. Grandfather tells Shane the story of a young Lakota man who tries to win the hand of Bluebird Woman. He also tells the story of how a thunder spirit falls in love with a Mohawk woman and brings her up into the ethereal world of Sky Woman, and of how she raised their son back in her village until he was struck by one of the villagers and brought back to live with his father. Later, when a young redheaded man who is eager to learn about Native culture and hoping to be adopted by a Native American family asks to ride with them to the powwow, Shane says no. His grandfather then tells him the Kiowa story or Tehan, a white man who lived among the Kiowa and fought bravely along side them, and Shane relents and lets the redhead ride with them. Shanes Grandfather then tells how Eagle Boy follows the advice of a shining spirit elk, and seeks out an old woman who can give him weapons with which to slay the mighty serpent Unceliga. He is repulsed when the ugly old woman embraces him, but reacts quite differently when she transforms into a beautiful, younger woman. She reproaches him but gives him what he needs. Eagle Boy slays Unceliga, whose heart instructs him and grants him great power and prophetic visions. Eventually, the gang members who are after Shane catch up with them and accidentally drive their car off a cliff and into a lake while chasing him. Shane dives in and saves them, and his struggle is contrasted with Eagle Boys underwater battle with Unceliga. The gang members ride with them for a ways, until they and the redheaded hitchhiker leave them in order to travel with a group of attractive young women who are also headed to the powwow. As they travel, Shanes grandfather tells Shane many other stories: several are about the trickster Coyote and Iktome the spider. Another is about a young Pawnee man and his mother who are scorned by the rest of their tribe until the young man finds an unwanted dun pony who brings them good medicine. As Shane and his grandfather look up at the stars, the grandfather tells the story of the Quillwork Girl and her seven star brothers, which is about a Cheyenne girl who puts her faith in a dream and searches for seven brothers, but who must then contend with the Buffalo nation. The next story is about a young Chinook woman who sacrifices herself in order to cure her village of a terrible sickness, and the next is about a young Blackfoot hunter who cannot let go of the memory of his father. Shane and his Grandfather continue their journey, losing their truck along the way and continuing on horseback and on foot. The two become closer. However, it then turns out that Shanes grandfather has led them not to the powwow but to Shanes fathers (Sam Chasing Horse) trailer home. Shane is disgusted but is persuaded to stay the night. The next morning Shane finally makes peace with his father. However, he then becomes grief-stricken when he discovers that his grandfather has passed away in his sleep. Shane decides to continue on to the powwow on horseback, and his father says that when Shane comes home hell be there too. The ending of Eagle Boys story is revealed: Eagle boy decides that he wants to live like other men, and disobeys the heart by revealing it to the entire tribe (to whom it appears to be nothing more than an ordinary stone). At the powwow, Shane takes on the role of a storyteller, and children gather around him.