From 1836 to 1861 in the career of restless Larkin, ambitious, insecure, driven. There's a little bit of everything here, -- history, marriage, farming, pioneering, with good situations but sprawly in execution. The early years of trekking westward with his mother to Missouri, always expecting his absentee father; then the lure of gold taking him away from his devoted wife and child to California, back to find his father, redeem an old debt -- and make some new ones, when he misappropriates funds to launch his own success. The Civil War sees him enlisted on the Union side as scout and spy -- again his path crosses his father's -- again his father sets him on the right way. Good Americana here.