Just after midnight on March 13, 1928 the recently constructed St. Francis Dam gave way, releasing a 160-foot-high wall of water down San Francisquito Canyon. The torrent swept huge pieces of the dam, some weighing ten thousand tons, more than a half mile downstream. Four hours later the water thundered into the Pacific Ocean after erasing nearly everything in its 50-mile path. By morning more than five hundred people were dead or missing. It was the worst American civil engineering disaster of the twentieth century.
Everything In Its Path tells the story of Santa Paula archaeologist Randall Thompson and his daughter Kate, who are excavating a Chumash Indian site in San Francisquito Canyon. As the dig progresses Randall is puzzled by remains buried beneath a layer of silt. Meanwhile Kate explores the town of Castaic Junction and the dam’s powerhouse, getting to know the real-life residents. Then she makes an alarming discovery: the dam is leaking!
Intertwined with Kate and Randall’s story is that of the prehistoric Chumash settlement they are unearthing. Tribe member Singing Bird is tormented by dreams of water and her village being swept away. But leader Lone Wolf belittles her premonitions and threatens her if she speaks out. As storm clouds gather, Singing Bird must decide whether to submit to Lone Wolf or try to save the tribe from the awful event she foresees.
Across the centuries the two girls’ fates are drawn together, culminating in a remarkable discovery as they struggle to save their loved ones from a force that will sweep away Everything In Its Path.