1863 – Montana
In an Idaho Territory boom town, America Liberty Reed overhears circuit preacher Shane Hayes trying to persuade a hotel owner to close his saloon on Sunday. Shane lands face down in the mud for his trouble, and there’s talk of shooting him. America intervenes but shies away from an unexpectedly personal conversation with the blue-eyed preacher. Certain she has angered Shane’s God, America believes her only hope of redemption is to give a good life to her infant daughter.
America joins forces with Addie Martin, another widow. They follow the stampeding miners to the site of a gold discovery, where the two widows set up a cook tent. Even with Addie and her thirteen-year-old son helping care for her baby, America faces a hard life in Virginia City. Shane urges her to leave for a more civilized location, but her loyalties and ambitions hold her fast. Road agents, murder, sickness, and the rise of vigilante violence all challenge America’s decision to remain.