Vancouver, in the mid-nineteenth century, torn between the claims of the British and Americans, was an island of conflict. Into this conflict comes the sixteen-year-old Ann Maria, a pioneer girl, grown prematurely adult in those hard days on the trail which she travelled from illinois with her family. Ann Maria is strongly attracted to the British though her family as strongly opposes them. Compared to the Americans, many of the immigrants, she finds their soft spoken, urbane ways congenial. But, when after a year of struggle and insecurity -- fights over land, the death of an infant sister, her father held prisoner by Indians -- a well-born Englishman offers to take Maria away from the rugged life of Vancouver, she turns with love to an American, strong with the acceptance of her identity and her commitment to the island which is now fully her home. Much historical and political embroidery cannot adequately disguise this well worn garment of teen-age romance. But the regional values, as well as the historical, fill a real gap.