Set in southwestern Minnesota in 1890, Running before the Prairie Wind tells of Karen and Peter Larsen's struggle to retain their Good Life by dealing with suppressed memories. Peter, the former captain of a tall ship, compares life on their bountiful pioneer farm to sailing with the wind at his back, and Karen is a catalyst for change in the lives of everyone around her. She inspires an Indian girl to explore her mixed-blood heritage and a Jewish friend to fulfill his gifts. But even Peter's natural exuberance can not keep the oncoming storm at bay when tragedy at a neighboring farm brings back ghosts from the past. Only with the help of a Quaker woman can the couple overcome lingering guilt and once more fill their sails.