At 17, Sarah Tarrant was a more skilful doctor than most young men out of medical school. Years spent assisting her father in his practice prepared her for the illness and accidents she was to encounter on the wagon train journey from Missouri to Oregon. A raging storm takes the life of her precious father and Sarah discovers untapped courage in her decision to forge ahead. There are many opportunities for Sarah to prove her skill and in the process disprove the arguments against women in the medical schools. Once she saves an Osage Indian baby, a feat for which the entire wagon train is rewarded by passing unharmed through Indian territory. Her knowledge also saves a white man and an Indian from near fatal bullet wounds and a neighbor's baby from the ravages of high fever. Along with Jed Salem, Sarah's romantic interest, the reader feels certain that some day in the future medical colleges will abandon discriminatory policies against women, but until then Sarah is accepted as a full fledged doctor in the Oregon valley. Designed to inspire teenagers in some way at odds with conformist patterns, this is intermittently successful.