Rose Wilder, the daugher of Laura Ingalls Wilder, is a bright, precocious seven year old living in DeSmet, South Dakota with her mother and father. When Rose's parents tell her that the family is moving to Missouri, Rose is distraught. She can't believe that she has to leave her beloved town of Desmet and her grandparents and blind Aunt Mary. Papa tells Rose that there is a terrible drought in South Dakota and that the prairie is turning to dust. Although Rose is reluctant to move, she tries to make the best of it. Rose is ecstatic when she finds out that the Cooley family is moving to Missouri as well. Rose is friends with Paul and George Cooley so she knows that she will at least have two friends in Missouri. Before the Wilder family leaves Desmet they gather at Rose's grandparents house for a farewell dinner. Grandpa plays the fiddle and Rose is finally deemed old enough to drink tea. As the Wilders head to Missouri in their wagon they pass the time by singing songs and swapping stories. Rose is fascinated as she listens to her mother's childhood story about finding a mummified Indian baby. Although her parents tell her that Indians have moved West, Rose longs to see a real live Indian. When a sudden dust storm erupts the Wilders are forced to stop alongside the road and wait out the storm. Rose feels miserable and bored. Along the way Mama tells Rose a secret: she has 100 dollars stashed away in her writing case for when they get to Missouri. Mama tells Rose that the $100 is their future. As the Wilders prepare to cross the Missouri river Mama remembers long ago when the Ingalls family crossed the same river. Suddenly, a powerful wind kicks up and tosses their wagon around, frightening them all. When they reach the other side of the river Mama tells Rose to get a last look at Dakota. Rose is shocked to see her Mama crying. Mama starts keeping a journal on the trip and Rose reads it to keep boredom at bay. Rose thinks her Mama's journal is better reading than Robinson Crusoe. Along the way the Wilders and the Cooleys stop in Topeka, a bustling city which is the capital of Kansas. Laura sees beautiful women in fancy dresses and the wonderful trolley cars. When the Wilders finally reach their new home in Missouri they are dismayed when they discover rats and spiders living in their home.
This report prepared by Sandra Calhoune