It's 1893 in the town of Gold Mountain and the Snoqualmie Valley of Washington state — several years after the events of "Gold Mountain." Into this now peaceful community comes young Merrie Cowen, ready to give birth, while searching for the husband who has abandoned her.
She will find no lack of those ready to comfort and protect her. There's Nils and Katherine Bengston, now proprietors of a prosperous inn. There's old Dr. Adams, who recognizes and nurtures in Merrie a burning need to help others. There's Brother Bill, the itinerant preacher, now ready to settle in Gold Mountain and head the church, if only he can find a wife to share the duties. And there's Jeff Smith, son of a Southern gentleman and owner of a profitable lumber camp — a man never content with where he is, and uncertain what he wants. That is, until he meets Merrie.
But Merrie is out of reach of any man, because she is already married. And just when he is least wanted, Jim Cowen steps back into Merrie's life. Vain, manipulative, delusional, abusive, he has made life a hell for Merrie during their brief marriage, and now may be a danger to their son. But can she find the strength to break free, when she has come to pity him as much as she once loved him?
There in the valley — in her new life, in her friends, in the man who has quietly won her heart, and in a mother's love — she must find the answer to that question, and the key to her future.