Necessity dictates that Emilina Brook supplement her family's income by accepting a position as music teacher in a young ladies' academy. Fate decrees that she meet Dr. Secord Cardew while journeying by stagecoach to the school in a distant town. Dr. Cardew is in turn charming, unkind, amiable, callous, appealing, and occasionally rude. Emilina is drawn to him, but the real Dr. Cardew is a mystery. Is he a worthy admirer or does he have insuperable flaws?