Young Sam Clemens and his friend Tom Blankenship suspect Tom's brother, Bence, has found their secret buried treasure and is involved in stealing slaves.
After her father dies at the Battle of Gettysburg, Sallie Randall and her mother move to Kansas, where Mrs. Randall takes a job as housekeeper and Sallie adjusts to life with a new family. Sallie finds a new friend and they become almost like sisters. Just like most friends, they struggle to remember what friendship really means at times.
Eleven-year-old Elinore Frey and her older sister, Phoebe, share their experiences in letters as they both adjust to new lives in the West, Elinore in California, and Phoebe on the plains of the Nebraska Territory.
The Great Depression forces a brother and sister to live with their hated cousins on a farm in North Dakota when their father loses his job.
The Baldwin family decides that they could make a better life for themselves in Oregon. This is the story of their journey to Rainbow Valley. Thirteen-year-old Cotton becomes responsible for seeing his family safely across country to Oregon where they will join his father.
After Byron receives a whipping for stealing a ham for his pregnant wife and she dies giving birth to twins, Byron decides to escape slavery via the Underground Railroad.
Caroline learns the meaning of freedom while struggling to maintain the family cotton plantation during the Civil War.