This is the story of Emma Jorden, a young woman who is left to fend for herself at age 17 after her parents die. Traveling on foot to a trading post, the only civilization in the area, she becomes lost on the prairie during a freak October blizzard (an actual event). She is rescued from near-death by a half-blood Cheyenne warrior, Shea Hawkshadow.
Emma spends the winter living with the Cheyenne in the Indian Territory (now the State of Oklahoma) and grows to love them, their customs, but most of all, Shea Hawkshadow. Emma and Shea marry without considering the potential consequences of their union given the level of prejudice among most White settlers towards Indians and toward a White woman who would marry an Indian. Although their marriage is founded on profound love, the couple faces many trials ahead. After a long separation during the Cheyenne Outbreak of 1878 (a true event), Emma and Shea reunite. However racial prejudice, intolerance, and violence dogs the couple and eventually forces
them to leave the Cheyenne. They head west to find a safe place where they can live together in peace and find the small logging town of Easthope high in the Cascades Mountains of Washington State.
Emma faces many ordeals in her life and her emotional state becomes increasingly fragile. She battles to unearth the causes of her instability hindered by lack of understanding and compassionate treatment for emotional illness in the late 19th Century.
This report prepared by Susan Gibbs