When Rachel, hired help in a Chicago boardinghouse, falls in love with Isaac, a Buffalo Soldier posted in Nebraska, he proposes a bargain. He’ll marry her but only if she gives up her 160 acres from the Homestead Act so he can double his share. Landownership, Isaac believes, will give him a measure of equality with the white man. Rachel agrees to the bargain, and together they stake their claim in the South Dakota Badlands.
Fourteen years later, in the summer of 1917, it hasn’t rained in months and supplies have dwindled. Expecting another child, Rachel struggles to feed her family and is concerned about the welfare of the children. Isaac, fiercely proud of his ranch, refuses to consider giving up his land and is determined to pull the family through this rough time. Somehow, Rachel must stand up to her husband and do what is right for their daughters and son.