Nobody was more surprised than Mattie herself when Luke Spenser, considered the great catch of their small Iowa town, asked her to marry him. Less than a month later, they are wed and setting off in a covered wagon to build a home on the Colorado frontier. Mattie's only company, aside from a taciturn and slightly mysterious new husband, is her private journal, where she records the joys and frustrations not just of frontier life, but also of marriage to a handsome but distant stranger. As Mattie and Luke make a life together on the harsh and beautiful prairie, battling the fierce odds imposed by weather, illness, and lawlessness, Mattie learns some bitter truths about her husband and the woman he left behind, and finds love where she least expects it.