When her pastor arrives at her doorstep with David Harper, a stranger looking for work, the young widow, Rachel Miller, agrees to provide room and board in exchange for help on her farm. As David prepares to travel with the 1843 wagon train across the Oregon Trail, he proposes marriage to Rachel. Her decision is based on her need for a husband for herself and a father for her three young children. The hardships of the journey west can either bring the couple together or destroy hopes of ever having a marriage based on love. The story of six families bonding throughout the trip creates an authentic view of the early settlers and their ordeals in expanding this nation in the nineteenth century.