Searching for a better life, Mina, Papa, and Mama left their German fatherland aboard the brig Margaretha, bound for Texas. They had been told it was the paradise of North America, but when Mina steps onto the desolate beach at Indian Point on a cold December day in 1845, she wants to go back to Germany and Opa's cozy house in the village of Wehrestedt. But go on they must. In spite of mama's tragic death, Mina and Papa push inland with the Kaufmann family to the Texas hill country. There Mina encounters an Indian chief and his young daughter, Amaya, whose help she needs when Papa falls ill. Based on her ancestors' immigration to Texas, Janice Shefelman tells of a journey into the wilderness that is filled with hardship, tragedy and adventure.