The trials besetting Roxana Renner, who almost, but not quite, inherits her father's ""callous need for joy"" -- lead her to the theater, marriage to a wealthy man, and the hard found truth of her love for another. Orphaned in Central City, promising never to leave her younger sister, Avis, Roxana loses her first love when she gets a chance with the De Forest Company, footlight pioneers in Colorado. Avis runs away, Roxana's conscience sends her back to menial labor and the help of Jay, whom she had once despised, who has a lead on Avis. Again the De Forest Company takes her along, and she earns her part as an actress -- only to hurry after another clue for her sister. Marriage to Grover Hull, luxury in Denver as his mining interests flourish, insults from Jay precede Grover's financial ruin, sickness and death, with Jay, ready to take her out with his new tent company. But even this, with his ex-mistress and the child she claims is his, is not for Roxana when the storm strikes and, penny-pinching again, she finds Avis, now married to that first love. Living with them, she imperils their security and respectability in their new community -- and their marriage -- and her departure leads her right into the arms of Jay.... A woman's book gives color and plausibility to mining days of the late 19th century and cherishes, even if it never immortalizes, its heroine.