When Finn's parents head off to some scientific mission on the other side of the world, leaving him with his grandparents on their Manitoba farm for a whole year, Finn is furious. He struggles to deal with his gran, his cantankerous great-grandfather and the less-than-friendly kids at school. But the gentle, lazy Red River flowing nearby gives Finn and his only friend, the mysterious Angus, their only peace. Finn learns that the Red River flows "backward"--from south to north--and this increases the possibility of it flooding again, as it has many times before.
And so it does again, in 1997. Tension builds in the community when it becomes clear that they are going to have to prepare for "the big one." As the floodwaters approach, the villagers quickly build a dike to try to save their community. But can they possibly succeed in the face of this flood? Will Finn get to fish for channel cats with his great-grandfather?
Finn is dealing with problems, issues rise to a head and more than emotions overtake him when the Red River floods his grandparents' home.