When an exciting stranger named Brooker Rose arrives in Mercur, Utah, in 1902, he fiddles his way into Cecily McKinsey’s heart. But townspeople start to suspect him as he discovers gold in an abandoned mine whose owner is missing. Tongues begin wagging, not only against Brooker, but about others even Cecily’s father.
The dark rumors that creep into the model community so severely damage its spirit that one is not surprised at the eruption of violence at a card game, or the threat of hanging. And when a grease fire in a restaurant spreads rapidly through the town, residents quickly don as many hats and clothes as they can and swarm up the hill to take the train to safety.
Cecily, who sometimes explores her feelings about life through her imagination, tries to make sense of her world that seems to be plummeting toward disaster. As she leaves Mercur, which she lovingly refers to as Sweet Pie, she searches for some sign of redemption. Is the fire really an accident after all? And will she find the love she is longing for?