MARY MUHLENBERG is an ambitious sixteen-year-old who joins the California Gold Rush in 1849. But unlike her missionary parents, she exchanges her Bible for a spade. Mary longs for a better life, despite her own conscience and her father's warnings.Touched by gold fever, Mary makes an ill-advised alliance with conniving entrepreneurs from Midas, a nearby mining town. Rejecting both her father and the timely advice of a wise and respected Californio, she will not abandon her chosen path. Mary's escapades will threaten her father's work among the Feather River tribes, compromise her faith and family, and ultimately imperil not only her life, but the lives of her friends. Mary finally comes face to face with her shortcomings, but evil plans beyond her control are already in motion. Trapped and alone, Mary must confront the darkness within herself. Only then will she be ready for the greatest test of her life, with the lives of others hanging in the balance.