Love and violence on the American frontier characterize this exciting novel about the early Mormons and their search for a place of peace and religious freedom. Thwarted in their attempt to settle together in northern Missouri, they flee to Illinois where they establish a city called Nauvoo on the Mississippi. The novel describes their search for a place of refuge, the heart-rending story of their persecutions, and the ultimate destruction of their city.
The novel's main character is Gabriel Romain, a blacksmith and physician, who tries to deal with persecution, slavery, and death. How he eventually becomes the leader of his little group is part of his story. His attempts to protect them and find safety for them is related against the background of this turbulent time in American history.