After years of schooling, Beth Thatcher has graduated and is determined to become a teacher. But when she's assigned the position no one else wants - in the tiny mining town of Coal Valley, located in the rugged foothills of western Canada - she worries she doesn't have the courage to accept. Inspired by the diary of her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years earlier, as well as her father's encouragement, Beth eventually decides to put her trust in God and leave behind all she's ever known.
Beth Thatcher returns home from her first year as a schoolteacher in the mining town of Coal Valley and steps into a whole different world. Her life back among her wealthy Eastern family is a stark contrast to her primitive life in the West, and Beth isn't sure where she belongs anymore. She barely has time to settle in before her mother announces plans for a family holiday - a luxurious steamship tour along the eastern coast of Canada and the U.S.