A sensitive, muted and poignant story of a state orphanage, of a group of tough, sullen, dirty faced youngsters and the young woman sent to be their manager. Sarah Malstrom is close to thirty, but inexperienced, immature, afraid. As she learns to command respect, to win their trust and affection, she too changes. There are the children, particularly Michaelsen, who is stubborn but gentles down; there is Darcy, a French Canadian; there is Joe, whose father was a ""con"" and whose one hope is to go home, and so on. The story ends as Sarah, more secure, more independent, accepts the fact that she will always lose those she loves best, decides to leave the home.