Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Leavitt has traveled by covered wagon from Utah to the Northwest Territories of Canada, where her father and brothers are now homesteading and establishing a new community with other Latter-Day Saints. Rebecca is old enough to get married, but what kind of man would she marry and who would have a girl like her -- a girl filled with ideas and opinions? Someone gallant and exciting like Levi Howard? Or a man of ideas like her childhood friend Coby Webster? Rebecca decides to set her sights on something completely different. She loves the land and wants her own piece of it. When she learns that single women aren't allowed to homestead, her father agrees to buy her land outright, as long as Rebecca earns the money -- 480 dollars, an impossible sum. She sets out to earn the money while surviving the relentless challenges of pioneer life -- the ones that Mother Nature throws at her in the form of blizzards, grizzles, influenza and floods, and the ones that come with human nature, be they exasperating neighbors or the breathtaking frailty of life.