In colonial Boston, proud, orphaned, quick-tempered Johnny Tremain works as an apprentice to Mr. Lapham, a master silversmith who is now getting on in years. More clever and skilled than the other two apprentices living at the Laphams', Johnny has the run of the Lapham household. His future seems secure: when he is old enough, Johnny will marry Priscilla Lapham, one of old Mr. Lapham's granddaughters, and inherit the silversmith shop. There he will live out his years, fashioning silver cups and basins and other fine ware for the well-to-do of Boston society. However, fate or providence has different plans for Johnny Tremain. When his hand is injured and he is unable to continue his duties as apprentice silversmith, he finds work as a courier for a secret network of revolutionaries, and suddenly finds himself caught up in the struggle for American Independence.