1871. When Fergus Deagan's wife dies in childbirth, she makes him promise to take their family from Ireland to Western Australia to join his brother Bram, and also to marry again to make sure their children don't miss out on a mother's love.
Disowned by her father for becoming pregnant, Cara Payton bears a stillborn baby. She struggles on in deep despair, until a plea to wet-nurse a motherless baby gives her life new purpose.
When Fergus proposes marriage, she accepts. She respects him and is happy to stay with the baby she now loves. During the voyage to Australia, she and Fergus draw closer, until her past rears its ugly head and they face a terrible crisis . . .
When they finally get to Fremantle, Fergus and Bram, always rivals, struggle to get along. To make matters worse, Bram has financial problems and there is no railway where Fergus can find engineering work. Can the two brothers solve their problems? And will the newcomers find a way to build a new life?