As a Marine and an LA cop, JACK CHARBANEU has dealt with his share of tough customers, but none as tough as his eighteen-year old daughter GRACE and her determination to keep him out of her life. Jack knows he abdicated his parental role when he walked out on her and her mother eleven years ago, but he also knows that he can’t let Grace end up like him – haunted by regrets for failing to reach out to his dying father before it was too late. Jack doesn’t want her sympathy; he needs her understanding.
His only reason for coming home is to reconcile with Grace, and Jack has no intention of taking sides in the growing strife on the White Earth Indian Reservation over the proposed expansion of the Shooting Star Casino. As a Tribal Police Officer, he’s just there to keep the peace, but the cop in him can’t help notice there’s something more going on than meets the eye. Wealthy foreigners and powerful politicians aren’t common visitors to the rural northern Minnesota rez, especially not in the dead of winter.
The grisly discovery of his uncle’s body in a snow bank sets a series of events in motion that draw a reluctant and headache-plagued Jack into the seductive world of Indian casinos infused with foreign money; a world rife with greedy tribal leaders, deception, and political corruption. Determined to prove his uncle was murdered, Jack’s investigation is intentionally hampered by an FBI agent – Grace’s stepfather -- with an intensely personal grudge. A second death with a similar MO sends Jack on the trail of a ruthless killer, unaware that his pursuit will put Grace and her fiancé squarely in the crosshairs of a brutal Chinese hit man.
While Jack is investigating the murders and who’s behind them, the reservation elders resurrect an ancient American Indian gambling game, played in the past as a peaceful alternative to war, in order to prevent a bloodletting that would destroy the tribe. When they learn that the stakes are not the expansion of the casino, but the construction of new casino and resort on the shores of their most sacred lake, the Bone Game is elevated to a contest over the preservation of a way of life, quickly fading in the beckoning glow of neon lights and the lure of relief from centuries-old grinding poverty.
Plagued by increasingly violent headaches and disturbing visions that warn him of impending danger, Jack becomes more aware that nothing is as it seems. He can no longer tell the good guys from the bad guys, and isn’t sure who he can trust. When Grace’s fiancé is savagely murdered and she’s held hostage to insure the outcome of the Bone Game in favor of the consortium, the future of the reservation – and Grace’s fate – rest solely on Jack’s weary shoulders.
Jack’s life and death struggle with the killer on a frozen lake finally reveals the answers he’s sought so desperately in his visions. In an act of mercy, he attempts to save his drowning enemy, only to discover a greater enemy – the betrayal of a friend. As Jack lies dying in Grace’s arms, he’s able to forgive himself for his failures as a father and as a son, and as he slips away, Grace mourns the father she never had the chance to know.