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by Robert Louis Stevenson

David Balfour of Shaws Timeline and Summary

  • Davie leaves his home of Essendean, in southeastern Scotland, upon the death of his father.
  • His friend Mr. Campbell, the Minister of Essendean, tells him to go to the house of Shaws, where he will meet relations who can help him.
  • This relation is Davie's uncle, Ebenezer Balfour, who turns out to be a miser and a cheat.
  • Ebenezer manages to trick Davie into getting onto a ship, the Covenant, bound for the Americas.
  • On the ship, Davie finds that he is going to be sold by Captain Hoseason to a plantation in the Carolinas.
  • Before the Covenant manages to leave the waters of Scotland, it runs in to a small boat carrying Alan Breck Stewart, a Highland rebel and Jacobite.
  • Alan and Davie form an alliance against Hoseason and the crew of the Covenant.
  • Alan tells Davie of his hereditary feud with Colin Roy Campbell of Glenure, whom he calls Red Fox.
  • The Covenant runs aground off the island of Mull, and Davie is shipwrecked on a small, barren, deserted rock called Earraid.
  • Davie nearly dies of starvation and exposure before finding out that, when the tide is low, he can walk from Earraid to Mull.
  • On Mull, Davie discovers that Alan has been looking for him. He sets off to find him.
  • On his way to meet Alan, Davie witnesses the murder of Red Fox. Davie is fingered as an accomplice in the killing.
  • Davie and Alan meet up and go on the run from Red Fox's clan, the Campbell family, and the English soldiers who supported him.
  • The two cross the Highlands on foot, suffering from hunger, poor weather, and exhaustion.
  • Avoiding all the people looking for them, they finally wind up back at Davie's departure point, Queensferry, where he first boarded the Covenant.
  • Alan goes into hiding while Davie finds his uncle's lawyer, Mr. Rankeillor.
  • Rankeillor explains why Ebenezer had Captain Hoseason kidnap Davie. It turns out that Davie is the rightful heir of the house of Shaws, which Ebenezer has taken over illegally.
  • Davie comes up with a plan to get Ebenezer to let go of his money without all the fuss of a lawsuit.
  • He uses Alan to entrap Ebenezer into confessing that he engineered Davie's kidnapping.
  • Rankeillor, in hiding, hears this confession and tells Ebenezer that he must give Davie a share of his estate or face legal consequences for the kidnapping.
  • Davie decides to use his newfound money to go back up north and testify as a witness to the Red Fox killing. He wants to try to clear the name of Alan's kinsman, James Stewart, in the murder trial.
  • Alan wants to arrange passage to France, where he will be safe from English troops.
  • The two part ways in Edinburgh.
  • The novel closes on an inconclusive note. Will Davie save James Stewart? Will Alan make it to France? We don't know!