Brian O'Rourke had a good life from infancy in Ireland until the famine hit so many people. His stomach was always empty and people were mean to one another. Finally he decided to sneak aboard a ship bound for America. He was found after they were out to sea and was taken to the captain. Captain Haines became for Brian a second father and so Brian learned from him during the next part of his life on the sea.
When Brian decided to settle near Seattle he became a logger and made a new life with work and friends. Harry Templeton became like a brother to Brian and together they fixed up a cabin in preparation for the arrival of Harry's fiance.
Meanwhile, Heather Templeton endured life with her father and stepmother, Adelaide. Harry had previously been sent away by his stepmother and Heather was left to Adelaide's deceitfulness. Though mean to Heather when they were alone, when Mr. Templeton was in the room Adelaide was all sweetness so he was unaware of his wife's true personality and wickedness. Heather's best friend, Alice, visited often and the girls shared jokes and secrets in Heather's room. It was there that they planned an escape to Seattle. But the outcome was uncertain. It was most daring of them to even consider. Women in the mid 1800s didn't do these things. But plan they did and even involved the help of some of the household servants. Heather would miss her father and risk losing her inheritance but another day with Adelaide was not an option, either.