Seeking revenge on the lumber baron who has stripped her reservation, Fleur Pillager takes her mother's name, Four Souls, for strength and walks from her Ojibwe reservation to the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. But revenge is never simple, and she quickly finds her intentions complicated by her own dangerous compassion for the man who wronged her.
The two narrators of `Four Souls' are from utterly different worlds. Nanapush, a `smart man and a fool', is both Fleur's saviour and her conscience. Elderly, he would like to face death with his love Margaret beside him. Instead, the two find themselves battling out their last years. When Nanapush's childhood nemesis appears and casts his eye toward Margaret, Nanapush acts out an absurd revenge of his own.
The other narrator, Polly Elizabeth Gheen, is a hanger-on in a wealthy Minneapolis family, a woman aware of her precarious hold on those around her. To her own great surprise the entrance of Fleur Pillager into her household and her life effects a transformation she could never have predicted.