Carolina Adams is a most unusual woman for 1830's America. She's about a century too early for her interests in masculine things such as science and learning and railroads. Her very proper southern mother wants only the best for her, a proper marriage to a financially stable man, love be hanged. Her father's much more understanding and doting. He begins to seek a tutor willing to impart knowledge upon his smart daughter.
James Baldwin's just not cut out to be a banker. The Balwin fortune is in deep trouble thanks to Leland Baldwin's careless spending. James' first love was the railroad, but when a derailment kills a friend and greatly injures James, he's scared to death of the coal-burning monstrosities. He agrees to become Carolina's tutor and court Virginia, Carolina's elder sister. Pressured by his father and mother James courts Virginia Adams, but he didn't count on falling back in love with the railroad or falling in love with Carolina Adams either.
Both Carolina and James think their love is hopeless. She gets her heart broken for she is far too much of a lady to try and steal her sister's fiance. Of course, she comes tantalizingly close to confessing her feelings to her tutor on several occasions. Her coming out party is disrupted by an altercation started when Carolina speaks her mind to an ignorant guest disparaging her beloved railroads. She's more dismayed than ever when that very night James proposes to her sister.
James breaks his engagment, but he's far too much the gentleman to publically dump Virginia Adams, so he leaves it to her to announce anything she pleases. James flees to his work with the trains and railroads, and Carolina pines at home still reeling from the loss of a little sister and the sheer irksomeness of being misunderstood by all.
This report prepared by Julie Gilbert