This collection of short essays, written over a period of years, pictures the true Ozarks and its people as Ellen Gray Massey has experienced them. While it captures the scene it also shows how the area has influenced her personal and professional life. From her childhood attending school in Washington, DC, and living all her adult years in the Ozarks, came the material and background to become a writer, her life-long ambition.
The Civil War has broken out in Missouri and Lettie Worthington won't take sides - though she has a brother fighting in each army and a fiancé with a guerrilla band sympathetic to the South. Not involved in the conflict, Lettie deals with her own struggles and hardships at home, and with the help of former slaves, she saves her family's hemp and tobacco farm. Upon learning that both brothers were in the Battle of Lexington, 20 miles west, she leaves the farm and paddles a skiff up the Missouri River to find them.
In 1879, three siblings - Virgil, Marcus, and Liberty Lander - are homesteading 160 acres in Nicodemus, an all-Black community in northwestern Kansas. Not prairie fires, cyclones, droughts, winter blizzards, loneliness, snakes, bugs, or harassment of a neighbor discourage them as they anticipate the time when their sharecropper parents from Kentucky can join them.
Ozark mountain legends have always intrigued history teacher Kirsten Ford, and when she inherits Aunt Viola's farm in the heart of Ozark country, she inherits a historical legacy of her own - buried treasure.