When kissing cousin Ned Massie drops in at the plantation, looking like the spitting image of the hated Abraham Lincoln and quoting Margaret Fuller, belle America Martin discovers a ""purring new sense of herself"" and is moved to throw over her fiance and head west with two former slaves as traveling companions. Unable to find Ned in Nevada and forced to take work in a boarding house, America is supposedly transformed from a ninny into a liberated woman. Some of the circumstances are hard to believe, especially the notion that America, at sixteen, is too young to find work in the frontier town. Silliest of all is the idea that self-discovery is merely a matter of latching on to the right man, and even on the rare occasions when America tries to demonstrate her independence from Ned, you know she's just playing hard to get. Let her go.