Drawing on contemporary accounts, Harvey presents excerpts from the diary of a fictional child travelling with her family in a small wagon train from Illinois to Sacramento, in format similar to her well-regarded My Prairie Year. Lush farmland and a better climate lure the family into undertaking the arduous trek. Cassie's straightforward narrative lacks drama in the telling--no emotion is expressed, for example, when friend Alice's mother dies en route--but that is a fair representation of the style of a more stoical age. The authentic details have their own interest and drama--graves along the way (""Here lize our onlee son. . .bit by a snake at 7 years""), a buffalo stampede that splinters a wagon, mosquitoes so thick that they turn bread dough gray, the family cow washed downstream while crossing the Platte, Father abandoning his precious books in the steep mountains--and at the conclusion of Cassie's brief pages, appetites should be whetted for more. Ray's impressionistic, soft black-and-white drawings evoke well the country's broad expanse and the sturdy pioneers who braved it. Map.