Jonathan Tremain is an apprentice silversmith in the 1700s. He is highly prized due to his silversmithing skills.
Johnny burns his hand while making a silver cup. His hand heals with the skin between his thumb and index finger, rendering him useless. He roams the streets of Boston looking for work but fails in finding it.
Johnny finds a boy named Rab and he invites Johnny into his fold. Johnny does work for them, delivering papers and fighting Britain´s tyranny over the colonies.
A battle at Lexington occurs, which Rab was a part of. Johnny ventures to Lexington, not part of the Continental army due to his deformed hand. Multiple militia die and Johnny finds out Rab is not one of them.
Although Rab didn´t die, he is gravely wounded and later dies.
Johnny finally gets his hand fixed and is able to join the Army. The war rages on and Johnny, a part of it.