In the spring of 1848, the Culbertson-Barkley company, so named for the Illinois and Missouri counties from which most of its members came, heads out for the promise of new beginnings and new lives in the Oregon Territory. 52 wagons, 233 men, women, and children who have been battered by a seemingly endless string of devastating winters and destructive spring floods. Battered maybe, but not defeated. Instead, toughened and filled with a collective iron resolve to change their fate and their future.
But the Oregon Trail is a challenge, even for the toughest and most strong-willed. It starts out hard and gets progressively harder, every inch of the way. It is a foregone conclusion that not everyone who is there at the beginning will make it to the end. It will take men like Wagon Master Eugene Healy, trail scout Basil St. Irons, and former mountain man Elwood Blake to get as many through as possible. And it will take determined women like Ingrid Healy and Evelyn Harmony to nurture and encourage their men in order to help them find the strength and courage to endure.
From within and without, they will be tested. By the elements, by the threat of Indians, by betrayal … and by secrets from the past.