Texas, Summer, 1870
At 25, Phoebe has survived the Civil War and tried to maintain her family property in Georgia alone as the only surviving member of her family. Despite her best efforts she is forced to sell and decides to take her young niece Sarah and nephew William to Santa Fe to start a new life with her uncle there. She is cheated and attacked by her guide and left stranded in the Texas heat.
Jack comes across a `Belle' with a veiled hat and Southern drawl in the middle of nowhere. He is instantly irritated as she reminds him of his fickle sister-in-law. He is a gentleman though and feels obliged to help a damsel in distress. She has no choice but to ask for his assistance even though he is a hated Yankee and represents all of the horrors of the war.
Jack soon sees that her hands are calloused and her clothes patched. There is more to Phoebe than a vain woman avoiding freckles. She also has to recognise that Jack is a kind friend and not at all like the stereotype Yankee In her mind.
They travel with the 2 children and grow to respect and care for each other, with humorous and dangerous incidents along the way to keep the tension and drama of the story. Initial impressions are proved to be very wrong as they discover and accept who they really are.