A young man in 19th century Switzerland whose father was killed trying to climb the Citadel (which is what the Matterhorn is called here) wants to become a mountaineer himself, and of course climb to the top of the Citadel, which no man has done. His mother strictly forbids it, and his uncle downright nasty to him whenever the subject comes up. Persistent fellow that he is, the boy hooks up with an English mountain climber, then coaxes his uncle to take him along on a climb, makes an ass of himself, then has a go at it again. The boy doesn’t really have the maturity for the task, but persists, and in time he grows up, almost in spite of himself.
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