The Crenshaw family is the wolf tree which blocks, thwarts and destroys the young growing up and Philip is its victim. For even his father, Frank McCloud, who has won his way in the Puget City forests, is unable to help him. Sarah Lowell, an orphan who has been well cared for by a logging camp madam in the Washington territory, can help him and does- until a charge of homosexuality is brought against Philip by a one-time friend from the East. Then Sarah, now established in San Francisco as Philip's wife and part of the Crenshaw family, imposes a contract that condemns Philip without mercy and gives her the reins to liberate the coming generation. Sarah is indefatigable in bringing in new blood, arranging marriages, and refusing to admit Philip's extra-marital interests, but the lumbering business still gets only absentee management from the family. It takes a reconciliation, an accident and black-mailing, for Sarah to be willing to abdicate and to dedicate herself, with Philip, to a better program -- for their forestry interests and their own future. The author of The Cargo of Brides again combines Northwest and California backgrounds and themes in narrative and period persuasion.