In 1882, Daniel McHarg travels up the Missouri River aboard a steamboat bound for Montana. On the trip upriver, he meets Nellie Sage, a woman who will change his life. But they are separated after arriving and face an uncertain future. With few prospects, Daniel struggles to find his way on the frontier, nearly losing his life in the process.After a few false starts, Daniel and Nellie settle on the Teton River and build a ranch. It's a time of rapid change and they witness the passing of a way of life, including the slaughter of the buffalo and the winter of starvation for the Blackfoot. In their struggle to build Raven Ranch, Daniel and Nellie endure wolf attacks, cattle thieves, and droughts. Nothing prepares them, however, for the severe winter of 1886-87, an event known as the "Great Die Up."