With only two young girls, Margaret Bolling, a widow, has been left with nothing. Desperate to survive, she takes her girls from their home in Kentucky to Independence, Missouri—the starting place of the two-thousand-mile trek to Oregon Territory. She only has herself to rely upon, and with her finances in dire straits, she sells baths and meals on the trail after driving her wagon all day. Everyone is so friendly—but one man always seems to be there when she needs help.
After falling in love with Margaret the moment he saw her at the general store in Independence, Jamie Prewitt is determined to help her and the girls during the journey—but do it without her realizing it. He takes her meat he kills and sneaks some of his own food storage into hers while she sleeps. But after a month of watching her struggle on the trail, he asks her to marry him—only, their marriage will be platonic until she's ready for a real one.
Margaret likes Jamie, but is she betraying her beloved Tom by marrying him? And can she ever learn to rely on someone other than herself again?