An unassuming, almost unadorned tale of pioneering, this focusses on the strength of a marriage and a family in making a success of their trip to Oregon. Joe Tower, held under by his wife, Emma's, father, by his indebtedness and his subservience to the bank, feels sure he will be his own master in the new lands of the west. Emma thinks of their six children, of the home it has taken so long to achieve, and of the unknown dangers that might beset them, but she gives in. And they start -- far too late in the year -- to make Independence where Joe's way with mules helps them out, to conquer a river and a storm for wintering at Laramie and beyond, at Snedeker's. There their oldest girl, Barbara, finds Ellis who goes with them in the spring to the promised land, and with their chosen spot -- there are two new friends and the long expected Indian raid from which they are rescued by new settlers and an Army friend from Laramie. These are the mules who work so well the little things -- a problem boy growing up on the trail, for so very little, the small adornments that should be discarded but which somehow finish the Journey, the blow-ups that hardship sharpens -- that lately have been missing in the opening-of-the-west field. A choice of the People's Book Club, this will make no great literary claims but will claim a popular market.