Utahans had been denied statehood for more than forty years, primarily because of the state’s connection to polygamy. Then in 1890, the Mormon Church published the Woodruff Manifesto ending plural marriages, and the promise of statehood was granted. Many Mormon husbands either kept their multiple wives or provided separate accommodations for them and their children. But some sent their wives away expecting them to fend for themselves. As a result, many formerly married Mormon women in Salt Lake City had to work as prostitutes in the brothels.
It is in this volatile community that Abigail Randolph finds herself at the beginning of Fort Douglas. Raised in Kentucky on her grandparents’ horse farm and educated at Smith College, Abigail Randolph had rarely seen her father who was now a colonel in the army. Then in 1895, he invites her to visit Fort Douglas where he is the commanding officer. With conflicting emotions about her father, she sets out from Boston to help regain women’s suffrage in Utah, but her goals change after she discovers the tragic result of the end of polygamy there.
She is met at the train station by her father’s adjutant, Captain Garrett Talbot. Willing to help his commanding officer, the Captain realizes that the Colonel’s daughter is going to be trouble for both of them. Her independent nature clashes with the captain’s adherence to military protocol. Abby’s insistence on helping Mormon women places her own life in danger and jeopardizes her fragile relationship with her father. As a result, the romance that develops between Abby and Garrett is nearly destroyed by the secrets she keeps.
Then when an acquaintance of hers is killed and Abby’s friend’s husband is arrested, both she and Garrett must work together to reveal the actual murderer. Ironically, it is this turmoil that brings the two lovers back into each other’s arms and finally secures Abby’s relationship with her father.