Natalie Merriman's world has fallen apart. Leaving her family's ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills, she travels to Omaha to pursue her education. Her goal is to return home as a country school teacher but she is miserable. She has little in common with the other students, who consider her a country bumpkin. So do some of the faculty, even though Natilie is far better educated than most of the others. When Natalie meets Ezra Caldwell, a second year student, she finds a kindred soul. Ezra is quite different from the cattlemen she grew up among, more gentle and refined. He is kind to Natalie, and he treats her as an equal, something she has never experienced. When Ezra asks for her hand, she accepts. Even so, Natalie's father strongly objects. When she invites Ezra to her family home over Christmas vacation, Ike Caldwell dislikes him from the start. Ike wants his daughter to marry a neighboring rancher and kicks Ezra out of the house. When Ezra leaves, Natalie goes with him. Not having any place to go, they marry and finish the school year. When Ezra is offered a job in Colorado, the couple decide to visit Natalie's family on the way. Yet a late blizzard stops the train and Ezra becomes ill. Not long after they arrive in O'Neill, he dies and soon after, Natalie discovers she is pregnant. With her dreams shattered and sick with grief, Natilie returns to her family. Trouble soon follows. Ike has t given up the idea of her marriage to his neighbor. The pressure becomes so great that Natalie is forced to leave her family again, this time on Christmas Eve. With her baby due at any moment, she rides off into the night and is caught in a ground blizzard. Trying to reach shelter, she is rescued by an unlikely pair of angels who carry her to to the safety of a dilapidated line shack. There her child is born on Christmas Day. Yet Natalie's odyssey is far from done. For her angels turn out to be US Marshals and Natalie finds herself the middle of a manhunt.