Berniece Johnson wants more from life than marriage to an old man who wants to beat her, but her parents believe he's exactly what she needs. In a desperate attempt to take control of her life again, she goes to see Elizabeth Miller, the town matchmaker. Elizabeth has her on a train a short while later to meet up with Elizabeth's sister Charlie and to marry a man in Missoula, Montana.
Kane Burton has no desire for another wife. He buried his wife just months before, but his infant daughter needs a new mother. When he sends off for a mail-order bride, he promises himself to think of her as a servant—someone who will make meals, clean his house, and take care of his daughter. Berniece is not at all what he's expecting, and he finds himself constantly comparing her to his late wife.
Will Berniece be able to convince Kane that she is a strong woman and nothing like his first wife? Or will she live forever in a dead woman's shadow?