Philip Kent's son Abraham had no desire to enter the printing business. Philip was disappointed that his son wouldn't want to follow in his foot steps. The business Kent and son was doing well and it could have been a good opportunity for a young man starting out. Abraham didn't know what he wanted to do but he knew it wasn't that.
Abraham decides to go west with Gen. Anthony Wayne and fight Indians. Maybe, out there, he can determine what he should do in life. He was hopeful. He just needed time. He wanted a break from his father's control. Once he returns, he is still not sure what the right thing to do is.
Abraham's step sister, Elizabeth is a very pretty girl but she is promiscuous and she likes Abraham more than she should. Her mother is Philip's second wife Peggy's daughter. She manages to seduce her brother and then talked him into going away together. She wanted to get away from the Kent household and knew she could have Abraham. She knew she could manipulate him.
Elizabeth and Abraham head for Ohio to start a new life there. She is both physically unhealthy and a little mentally challenged but they make the journey anyway. Abraham is infatuated with her. The land is tough they discover and they are nearly worn out working the land. They have two children together. Elizabeth dies from sickness as does one of the children. Jared and his father head back to Boston defeated.
Once back in Boston, both parents have died and Philip and Peggy's son Gilbert is running the printing business. He is not well himself but he is an excellent business person. Gilbert has a kind heart but his wife is not so nice. Gilbert tries to help his discouraged brother and cares deeply for Jared. His wife Harriet has no love for either of them.
Jared is a survivor and has a good character. There isn't much hope for Abraham. He has been ruined by his choices in life. Jared joins the navy after the beginning of the War of 1812 and is stationed aboard the U.S. Constitution. While on the ship, during a sea battle, he has a fight with one of his superiors. The officer had previously tried to have sex with him and Jared refused. Hamilton Stow ell goes after Jared and falls into a part of the boat and gets a bad permanent injury. He blames Jared and has a lifelong grudge against him and his family.
After Gilbert's death, Harriet re-married to a man with a gambling problem. He gambles away the printing business and leaves the family destitute. Somehow, Mr. Stowell ends up buying Kent and Sons publishing. Jared and his cousin Amanda leave for the west. Stowell tells Jared that he accidentally killed a man on the ship and he was in trouble. It had been a story but Jared thought it was good that they were going just the same. They could begin a new life there.
It was an adventure for the two of them. They traveled cross country. They pass the cabin where Abraham Lincoln is growing up in Kentucky. Later, Amanda is abducted by trappers. Jared then searches everywhere for his cousin. He starts to believe she might be dead and she thinks he must have been killed by Indians. What do you think happened to them? Hopefully they will find each other.