After eight years of failing to make a really big strike, Liz' family is about to leave the opal fields for Adelaide where she can go to school. Her father Mike and brother Billy are still determined, however, to make their fortunes in the few remaining months, but just as their final hunch seems about to pay off with a really valuable parcel of opal their claim is infringed and mining operation sabotaged. Mike blames the Greek family which has worked next to them for some time and suspects that Billy talked too freely to his former friend Nikos, but eventually Nikos is proven innocent and he and Billy discover the elusive vein of opal after Mike has given up in disgust. The rough, desolate ambience of an isolated Australian mining town is the story's only distinguishing feature, though Liz' attitudes toward the aborigine children she befriends (she hopes to take one, Kathy, to live with her in Adelaide) are sometimes as paternalistic as they are altruistic. The opposition between the visionary, adventurous menfolk and the cautious, guilty women (at one point, Liz decides to purposely fail her exam so the family won't have to leave) is infuriatingly banal typecasting, but the unusual locale and background on opal mining methods should hold most readers' attention.