Orphaned after the death of her mother, 18-year-old Esther Chambers heads west in search of her only living relative. In the lawless frontier town of Century, Oregon, she’s met by a sunburnt, laconic cattle wrangler: her distant cousin, Ferris Pickett. Within days, Esther is perjuring herself at the county clerk’s office, swearing that she is 21 and ready for the rigors of homesteading. Pick leads her to a tiny cabin that shows daylight at the chinks, and Esther begins her new life on the small lake called Half-a-Mind.
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