Trudie Brown has a horrible secret, something that keeps her from being able to make friends along the Oregon Trail. When she starts cooking for a little girl and her widowed father, she has no intentions other than feeding them and helping them get to Oregon. The child, a gregarious social butterfly, believes right away her father should marry the woman cooking for them, but Trudie is certain it will never work, because she can tell no one about her past.
Joseph Simmons has to do what he can to move on down the trail after losing his beloved wife. When his daughter, Emily, begs him night after night to marry Miss Brown, he decides to strike a deal with Miss Brown. He will marry her, but neither of them will need to reveal their past, and the marriage will be in name only. Emily will get a mother, and Joseph will have someone to cook his meals and do his laundry for the duration of his time on the trail, and longer if the arrangement works out well.
It isn't until they are married that Trudie realizes she's attracted to Joseph. Will the two of them be able to get through their differences to be happily married? Or will they end up alone, even while they are together?