When her father kills himself after losing his money in the stock market crash of 1929, twelve-year-old Frances, now a penniless orphan, decides to hop aboard a freight train and live the life of a hobo. Tramping is for people with nothing to lose and nowhere to call home. Twelve-year-old Frances Elizabeth Barrow thinks that describes her when she clips her hair and, disguised as a boy, "flips" a train west. Left a penniless orphan after her father's bankruptcy and subsequent suicide, Frances is sure that hoboing is better than being sent to live with an unfamiliar aunt in Chicago. On the drag, she meets Stewpot, a fifteen-year-old boy who teaches her the ropes -- everything from the jargon to the signs the hoboes leave for one another, to how to outwit the cops. She also learns that being "free" exacts a price, and comes to appreciate her old life. Cynthia DeFelice captures the despair -- and the hope -- of individuals facing the Great Depression in this story about a spirited young heroine filled with resolve after all she has experienced.