For the migrating Baldwins, dusted out of West Kansas and rejoining Dad in Oregon's Rainbow Valley, the 1935 journey is ""just one thing after another""--and that's very much how it reads, thirteen-year-old Cotton's anxiety notwithstanding. Not only did Dad leave him in charge but, unbeknownst to his mother, Cotton bought back Grandpa's legacy, a Pawnee bow and quiver, and so doesn't have the ten dollars she's counting on for an emergency. And, after assorted mishaps (dog Shag almost left behind, a flash fire, baby brother Kurt almost river-borne, etc.), a critical injury cleans her out--not even a nickel for a phone call to Dad, now nearby. Which hardly stands up since Cotton (who wasn't castigated) borrows a strange farmer's phone, after their gas has given out, to effect a happy reunion with their father. Lots of flurries but no impact.