December 2, 1859 John Brown is hanged for treason. The mayor of Richmond wants Will Brunner, minister and physician, in the Richmond Volunteers. Will refuses and kws the mayor will t give up. Olivia promises him that if war comes to Richmond and he is out of the picture, she will take the children and do her best to get them to safety. Because of their views on war and slavery, Will and five friends are harassed almost daily and when they still refuse to join the Richmond Volunteers, they are imprisoned. Olivia waits, trying to carry on as if all is rmal. But things are far from rmal. She is also harassed by Sergeant Parker who wants her to make Will change his mind. She learns that the children are also taunted at school. Samuel and Rosy, freed slaves who work for the Brunners help them cope. Rosy, friend and worker, helps Olivia with the children. Samuel takes care of the animals. While Will is in Libby Prison, Samuel makes daily trips to the back window where he can lower food to the men. Finally, the day comes when Will sends word by Samuel that it is time for Olivia to keep her promise. She gathers the wives of the other five men and tells them she is going North to the Kanawha Valley. She invites them to go with her, kwing that their husbands have already told them they should go. However, the mayor had assured them that the men are well cared for and are in discomfort. When Will signs the papers putting him in the Volunteers, they will be released. Olivia tells them the mayor is lying. She tells them the truth and says she is leaving in two days. They can either stay or go with her. They all go - six women including an eighty-year old and children all under twelve. With heavy hearts on March 20, 1861, Olivia and her friends climb into their covered wagons and leave their men in Libby Prison, t kwing if they will ever see them again.