An oddly oblique recapturing of the period of the mid 19th century, in the story of Lidian Dorie whose years reflected the westward march of the American people. From Massachusetts and a childhood sheltered by the amenities of the relatively well-to do, back in the 1840's, to Montana wilderness, where she was the first white woman to make her home, this is sensitive, perceptive recall which makes Lidian a live person. She was independent, at a time when girls were supposed to be subservient; she took gladness and sorrow it came, with chin high; she chose to flout tradition when she """" her best friend's beau, taking a gamble that often failed her instead of the security offered by a man she did not love. Always on the move, even when she had two little girls to plan for -- a part of a theatrical concert troupe when she wanted a home -- Lan was always herself, able to carry on even when what she cherished most had been taken away. The Civil War makes a somewhat shadowy background, but the restless west-ward sweep which grew out of it was a vital part of Lidian's story. A woman's book, rooted in the American scene.