In the 1970s, Annie Chappell dreams of a homesteading life--a life like the one depicted in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods, where the world is uncomplicated. If she can get to that place, she thinks, the trouble she faces at home--alcohol use, sexual abuse, and the sorrows of modern-day issues--will disappear. Home in Denver during a break from boarding school in the spring of 1973, she meets Bill, a mountain man Vietnam vet who's traveling through town on his way back to his cabin on the Canadian border in Montana, and she falls in love with the life he describes. In October, after months of imagining a life with Bill, she runs away from boarding school in the East to find him so he can teach her the wild ways. When Annie's plan fails, she goes back to school to graduate, but she continues to exchange letters with Bill for the rest of the school year--and after graduation, with her parents' blessing, she makes her way to Montana to live with him. Homesteading with an older man in the wilderness, however, presents challenges she hasn't anticipated. Ultimately, Annie's experiences with Bill push her to face her own strengths and fears, as well as her relationship with her parents and home--and to begin to figure out who she really wants to be.