A boat trip across the Atlantic in the 1860's is just the first in a series of adventures that takes Katherine Harris and her family from their confortable home in England to a new life on a plot of land near Hope, British Columbia. But the Hariss family suffers a terrible blow: the older daughter, Susan, contracts panama fever durintg their journey and dies just as the family reaches their final destination. Shortly before she dies, Susan presses a rose-shaped gold nugget into Katherine's hand. The nugget has been given to Susan by the grateful parents of a sick child she helped to nurse. A stoic Katherine is determined to live up to the virtue that earned her sister the "Golden Rose."