Bethany and her mother are left destitute following the scandalous death of her father. They prevail upon their only living relative, Great Aunt Sarah, who runs a coaching inn that has seen better days. Bethany is quick to adapt to their reduced circumstances, however, and persuades Sarah to build up the business again.
Trade at the inn increases, and their future looks secure. However, trouble lies ahead, not only in the rumours of a planned railway, but also in the form of Zachary Brown, an itinerant labourer who takes a shine to Beth, but is not all he seems . . .