Isobel and her scholarly husband are en route to Australia when he dies on the boat and the penniless young widow is still more bereft when her trunks are stolen. She goes to a far plantation--an all male household now run by the eldest son, Barney, whose honesty she mistakes for rudeness and who does not share her dreams of saving the abos from a world in transition. Against Barney's caveats, she goes off with a gentlemanly geologist and his prim sister, both incompetents, and the territory, recalcitrant to begin with, is almost ruinously fatal by the close. But then, there's Barney. . . . Essentially a sheila's book but if little grows in this part of the world, neither do cliches, and there's a primitive outback reality which strengthens it in intention and accomplishment.