Far in the Kentucky backlands lives twelve-year-old Liza and her family. But her mother is no longer there to keep the cabin tidy, to assuage father's somewhat volatile reaction to outsiders. After her death, Liza feels the heavy responsibility of playing the woman's role. This is made more difficult by the tension between her father and the ""outsiders"" who intrude upon the quiet community with their desire to buy lumber, and by Liza's inability to forsake entirely her old life of working like a boy with her father and brother. Her dilemma is resolved when the outsiders propose building a school in the backlands, and Liza conceives of a way by which her energies can be used to make this possible. A warm story which gives the reader insight into an obscure but rich area of this country, this story by a veteran writer of juvenile fiction for all ages boasts an appealing heroine, a vivid background, and considerable action.