Sympathetic characters against the pioneering days of Wisconsin in the 1840's. From Sweden come Jan and Margaretta, he disinherited because his family feel he has made a mesalliance. His scholarly background, his qualifications as a gentleman, his flute playing gentle humor and spontaneous sparkle, and his interests in nature, in the scientific study of the birds around him, mark him out from his neighbors, and foreordain his failure as man of business or farmer. Through Jan's pupils, Peter and David (David's character is patterned on John Muir), he achieves a sense of success. There are intimate pictures of the friends and neighbors, the life, the catastrophes. And there's a Peattie quality in the handling of the nature aspects. Nice but not vita.