In the inhospitable Black Swamp of Ohio, the Goodenough family are barely scratching out a living. Life there is harsh, tempered only by the apples they grow for eating and for the cider that dulls their pain. Hot-headed Sadie and buttoned-up James are a poor match, and Robert and his sister Martha can only watch helplessly as their parents tear each other apart. One particularly vicious fight sends Robert out alone across America, far from his sister, to seek his fortune among the mighty redwoods and sequoias of Gold Rush California. But even across a continent, jhe can feel the pull of family loyalties...