Rough times in 1885 in the mid United States forced the Ward family to carry out an old desire -- to head for the Pacific Northwest. The start was inauspicious; father broke his leg and mother stayed behind to take care of him; 13-year-old Brita was put in charge of the parentless expedition, now consisting of herself and three younger children, Julie age 12, Paul age 10, and Nubby, the baby. Travelling cross country in a freight-cattle car, surrounded by the family's live stock and possessions, scarcely supervised by a family in another freight car a few links away, is made to seem credible in the author's unsentimentalized account of the filth, the struggles, the conflicts the children face. An adventure story of courage may seem old-fashioned to some present day readers, but most children in this age group are receptive to a well-told story of personality conflicts and fast paced action. Worthwhile reading.