This is a story based on fact that follows a husband and wife who emigrate from Scotland to Wisconsin in the 1850s. They work very hard and become welcome citizens of their new town, Eureka. They have six children. They prosper in the husband's boat-building business. But when their eldest is 12, tragedy strikes the family, and the 12-year-old is burdened with a terrible task which he handles as well as any adult could.