Two men, completely different in character and background, sit down to play poker in the winter of 1844 in the Red Rooster Saloon in St. Louis.
With the turn of a card, their destinies merge in an exciting tale of intrigue, romance, pathos, violence and danger, as emigrants bound for glory or dishonor on the Oregon Trail.
JAMES MORGAN, once a hard-working, reliable farmer in Illinois abandons his wife and farm, takes his son and daughter and travels overland by wagon to St. Louis, where he finds temporary shelter in the Hightower Hotel, and entertainment at the local saloons, awaiting the first wagon train of the spring heading to Oregon. Will he find happiness in the West, or more turmoil and hardship?
WILLIAM BUTLER, professional oxen driver for the Virginia Iron Ore Company of Wythe County, Virginia, haunted by memories of the loss of his wife and son to cholera the previous year, seeks warmth and companionship in a saloon in St. Louis. Will he accept the responsibility of his new family?
CHARLOTTE MORGAN, forced by circumstances to accept marriage to a stranger, is bound by honor and duty to the one, but must say goodbye forever to the familial ties of the past. Can she find harmony and love in the choice she makes?
JOSEPH MORGAN, drawn by loneliness to a stranger, grows to adulthood in a world he doesn’t understand. Surrounded by the beauty of nature and the warmth of family, will he find the answer to his heart’s longing for peace?
GEORGE REMMINGTON, a hired hand, and dependent on his employer for his survival, buries the past and finds new meaning to life along the banks of the Laramie River, among a family who teach him that respect and honor are his for the taking; and that a boy’s love is a priceless gift from God. Does his future depend on his leaving behind the home he has carved from the wilderness with his own hands?