Faith Allen went to live with her aunt and uncle in the Kentucky mountains after her parents died. They hadn't been cruel, but they hadn't been loving and kind either; and they expected her to work hard. When their son strikes it rich in the California gold rush, they pack up to head to California via the Oregon Trail.
Astonished at the attention Lucille Staten, the most sought-after woman around and beautiful beyond description, is giving him at the ball, Jacob Parker agrees to retrieve her wrap from her bedroom, although he knew he shouldn't go there. When she follows and they're caught, he's forced to marry her. However, he still has hopes for a happy future together as he and her father make plans for the young couple to head west on the Oregon Trail.
The trail holds many more dangers than either Faith or Jacob imagined, and tragic circumstances throw them together. Can Jacob accept his second chance for love and a family and can Faith move past her marriage of convenience that crushed childhood fantasies? Even more pressing, will they survive the mounting hardships to have a future?