The Raeburns are a grand old Scotch family many of whom have migrated to the Kennebec, supported by their slogan ""Ready is the Raeburn"" and upheld by brave tales of the glorious deeds of their ancestors. After New Amsterdam became New York, coastal trading fell off, so when this story opens the mother and father of one of the branches are forced to take a trip to the West Indies to open up new markets. Therefore the heroine and her brothers and sisters move up to the Kennebec to stay with an elderly childless aunt and uncle. They arrive at a time when there is widespread fear of Baron de Castine, whose wife is an Indian. The people know that they can fend for themselves if there is just a raid from the Penobscot, but if he gets help from Canada, they must call for old. Later in this too long book, there is great trouble with the Massachusetts Puritans who want to extend their away over Maine.