16-year-old SAMANTHA NICHOLS (Chevel Shepherd) has the perfect life and home in Plano, Texas, when the sudden death of her parents (Adrian Paul and Cara Jade Myers) in a car accident destroys her world. With nowhere else to go, Samantha and her little brother Austin must move to Oklahoma to live with GRANDMA BETTE (Thesa Loving) and their AUNT SUSAN (Cassie Self Haley).
Samantha secretly blames herself for the tragic car accident. She believes that her text message to her dad may have distracted him while driving, and this guilt weighs on her every day. But Samantha’s arrival in the Cherokee Nation was sensed by UDELI SOQUILLI (Mo Brings Plenty) – the Cherokee Spiritual Leader – who also sees the return of the Cherokee Ghost Horse at the same time as an important omen. Over the first few weeks in Oklahoma, Samantha is mesmerized by the beautiful wild stallion that seems to be watching and following her. Soon, she befriends the horse and discovers an instant connection between she and the animal that makes her riding with “Wildfire” feel natural.
DIANA JONES (Anne Heche), one of the managers of Grandma’s horse farm, offers to train Samantha to ride Wildfire in the upcoming rodeo barrel racing competition. But Samantha’s sudden prowess at riding is another irritant to the already contentious relationship with the leader of the local “mean girls” posse, JOYCE GRAHAM (Olivia Slatton-Fite). Samantha finds their choir rehearsals and other interactions with Joyce to be increasingly tense.
At the rodeo, FRED JONES (Major Dodge, Jr.) tells Samantha about Joyce and her own, tragic past. This helps Samantha sympathize with Joyce and to recall some sage advice from her own father, who taught her that “losing” can sometimes be a bigger win. When Joyce flubs her barrel race run by clipping one of the barrels, Samantha does the same, ensuring that neither she nor Joyce would win the competition. The two girls ultimately make peace after a heartfelt, private discussion backstage at the rodeo.
But more troubles are in store. A major lightning storm spooks Wildfire, and he escapes from his stall into the rainy night. Samantha goes to investigate and ultimately search for Wildfire, but she herself succumbs to a fall and is left unconscious in a remote culvert. Grandma and Aunt Sue are frantic and call in the police, the Cherokee Marshals and the support of the community to search for the next few days in hope of finding Samantha.
Ultimately, Udeli senses their location and finds Wildfire, who helps lead him to Samantha. He drapes Samantha’s limp body over the back of Wildfire, and leads them to the Search and Rescue basecamp and Helicopter to be Medi-Vac’d to the hospital. Samantha’s survival is uncertain – so there is great relief when she finally regains consciousness. In a moment of confession, Samantha tells Grandma about her texting to her dad while he was driving, and that she feels this caused their accident. Grandma sympathizes but explains how her dad’s APP invention disables cell phones while driving (among many other features), and that Samantha’s texting could not have caused the accident. A surprise visit to the hospital by Dennis Stevens, her dad’s partner, brings more good news. And Samantha’s return to the farm gives Diana a chance to give her the biggest surprise news of all!