Winifred Gunn is one of thousands of Scots forced to emigrate from their homeland to the colonies in Australia. During the long voyage, Winnie falls in love with a young man named George Mclean, and they are soon married. Winnie has already been promised to a wealthy, unscrupulous Englishman named Jack Carrigan, who is accustomed to getting his way. When the couple arrives in Australia, Jack is outraged to learn that his plan to marry Winnie has been thwarted, and he vows to get revenge. With hard work, George and Winnie build a successful family business, and George's dream of owning a cheese factory is realized. That dream is destroyed when George dies suddenly and Jack Carrigan reappears, winning Winnie's trust and tricking her into signing a deed that turns over the entire family business to him. Winnie is left alone and bereft with her seven children. One of those children, Mary, moves to the United States with an American soldier, hoping for a better life. But the years ahead are nothing like the fairytale she imagined. Mary struggles through several marriages, alcoholism, prostitution, and deportation, all while trying to care for her two sons. One of those sons grows up to become a powerful figure who finally avenges the great wrongs done to the McLean family so many years ago.