Mama and Papa really loved each other, but Papa had gold fever and Mama was allergic to mining camps. She preferred to stay and run her grocery store in gas-lit San Francisco while daughter Margaret went to a proper school. During the school vacation, Margaret went to join Papa in Grass Valley on a two week visit that stretched out to more when Papa couldn't be found. She stayed with the Butlers whose son, Ernest, took over the job of introducing the city girl and thus, the reader to the primitive country. Before Margaret sees Mama and Papa's inevitable reunion, (Papa turns farmer for Mama) she worries her way through a small patch of the West that is fraught with incidents. The city girl finds courage; the country boy (who specializes in wholesome exclamations like. ""Great worms and little boar constrictors!"") helps her; and other stock characters support a stock situation that ends in a big parade.