The year is l875. Seventeen-year-old Bianca Stratton accepts a teaching assignment in an isolated settlement in Southern Oregon and finds herself involved in a web of intrigue, racism, blackmail and murder. Bianca immediately antagonizes the community by allowing the local blacksmith's half-breed son to attend school. Then two of Bianca's students discover the blacksmith's body in the woods, and Tyler Wells, a young sheriff is sent to investigate. Tyler is intrigued by Bianca, but it's Jesse, the rugged foreman of a nearby ranch, who sets her pulse racing. Impatient with Tyler's methodical investigation, Bianca uses the eyes and ears of her students to unlock the secrets of the tight-knit settlement and narrowly escapes becoming the murderer's next victim.