Portland, 1868. It is a rough hewn place, an exploding trading post that has dreams of becoming a metropolis.
Horace Stratton, one of Portland's wealthiest heirs, has decided to come home for good after amassing yet another fortune in Shanghai. With him comes his wife Emily, a shy daughter of missionaries, and their teenaged son. On the brink of that happy return, Horace suddenly falls ill and dies in San Francisco.
Emily and her son bring her husband home to Portland and they try to settle into this new culture. While they look as if they should belong, Portland is a strange and unsettling place for them.
Emily is guilt-ridden, but sorrow is one of the few emotions she didn’t feel when told of her husband's passing. For Emily had learned more about her husband’s past than anyone would believe. And she discovers that all of his schemes did not die with him.
His partners very much want Emily and her son to go away... by whatever means necessary. Emily will have to delve into her husband's seedy and painful past and set things right so that she can make a life for herself and her son in this strange land.