Fifteen-year-old Buckley (Buckley Petawabano) attends residential school, where he longs for his home and dreams of fishing and hunting. Yet when he returns to the reserve for the summer he feels like a stranger, unable to speak his Cree language or live off the land like his father and brothers. Johnny (Johnny Yesno), an Indigenous caretaker at the school, takes Buckley under his wing, introducing him to Indigenous history, culture, and knowledge. After finding Buckley’s frozen body in the snow, Johnny pieces together the events of the boy’s short life and tragic death, which left him unable to find a place for himself between the white and Indigenous worlds.Featuring the soulful music of Willie Dunn, Cold Journey's narrative is similar to the true story of Charlie Wenjack, a young Anishinaabe boy who froze to death running away from residential school in 1966. The film was made with members of the Indian Film Crew and features Chief Dan George.