This short romance, set in Wyoming some years after the Civil War, tells the story of Mattie Adams. Mattie, with her Aunt Elizabeth, has returned to Wayside Station after six years in St. Louis because local rancher Will McCarthy has written with news that her mother may be alive. Years earlier, Will had found Mattie in the mountains, following her escape from the notorious Dorsey gang, with whom she and her mother had been living. Believing her mother was shot during their escape, Mattie now hopes to find her and bring her home.
The romance between Mattie and Will develops quickly. Sparks fly off the page whenever they interact. While this sexual tension builds, their actions remain sweetly chaste throughout. But there is a troubling lack of character development. Mattie’s background unfolds in some detail, while Will’s is largely ignored. Coupled with some continuity flaws, and an unexplained gap in the plot dealing with the mother’s whereabouts, this all adds up to an uneven reading experience.