This is a powerful story of survival in a tough, joyless world. Billy Casper is a troubled teenager growing up in a Yorkshire mining town. Beaten by his drunken brother, ignored by his mother and failing at school, he seems destined for a hard, miserable life down the pits. But Billy discovers a new passion in life when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk. Billy identifies with her silent strength and she inspires in him the trust and love that nothing else can.