The Sierra Novada mountainside makes a lush setting for a young romance that drags in spots but is not without its excitement and its insights into the pains of adolescence. Shy, sensitive Nonie Harris yearns after Thatch Williams, a San Francisco boy whose family started to ranch in the district two years ago. Thatch of course pays her no mind. His indifference ties poor Nonie up all the more and she alternates between chastising herself for appearing unfriendly and scheming to prove her prowess at fishing, hunting and riding so Thatch will appreciate her abilities. Not until their two families have cooperated to work their stock together, until None has beaten Thatch in a fishing contest and even killed a marauding mountain lion, does Thatch burst out with his own feeling about being beaten in everything and open the way for a new friendship.