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When a run-in with his outlaw brother—and the murderous gang pursuing him—ends in the tragic death of his son, widowed farmer Eldon Quint journeys six-hundred miles through lawless, snowbound territory to bury his boy next to his wife’s grave in Missouri. On the way, he contends with his other young son who refuses to speak, a coterie of thieves and road agents, and the vengeful brother he left for dead.

Meanwhile, in Kansas, Minn Barker, an immigrant housemaid who has suffered some form of bondage ever since her time on the notorious Orphan Train, plots a daring escape from her lecherous overlord—and father to her unborn child—to pursue her dream of attending one of the first female colleges in America. When her getaway goes awry, she finds herself penniless, pregnant, and on the run. But a chance encounter with Eldon sets the stage for an unexpected future that will alter both of their lives forever.