A man travels in the Yukon on an extremely cold morning with a husky wolf-dog. As it gets darker and colder, he realizes his unprotected cheekbones will freeze, but he does not pay it much attention. He walks along a creek trail, mindful of the dangerous, concealed springs; even getting wet feet on such a cold day is extremely dangerous. He stops for lunch and builds a fire.The man continues on and, in a seemingly safe spot, falls through the snow and wets himself up to his shins. He gets mad, but still tries to start a fire even though his feet and fingers are numb.The man unties his icy moccasins, but before he can cut the frozen strings on them, clumps of snow from the spruce tree above fall down and snuff out the fire.The man is scared, and sets himself to building a new fire, aware that he is already going to lose a few toes from frostbite. He gathers twigs and grasses. His fingers numb and nearly lifeless, he unsuccessfully attempts to light a match. He grabs all his matches--seventy--and lights them simultaneously, then sets fire to a piece of bark. He starts the fire, but in trying to protect it from pieces of moss, it soon goes out. The man decides to kill the dog and puts his hands inside its warm body to restore his circulation. He calls out to the dog, but something fearful and strange in his voice frightens the dog. The dog finally comes forward and the man grabs it in his arms. But he cannot kill the dog, since he is unable to pull out his knife or even throttle the animal. He lets it go. The man realizes that frostbite is now a less worrisome prospect than death. He panics and runs along the creek trail, trying to restore circulation, the dog at his heels. But his endurance gives out, and finally he falls and cannot rise. He fights against the thought of his body freezing, but it is too powerful a vision, and he runs again. He falls again, and makes one last panicked run and falls once more. He decides he should meet death in a more dignified manner. He imagines his friends finding his body tomorrow.