Janet Scott loves books and learning and is happy living at the schoolhouse where her grandfather is the dominie. When her grandfather dies suddenly, everything changes, and she is sent to work for farmer Wull Foster. Life with no one to protect her is tough. So when philanthropist Josiah Saunders, an old friend of her grandfather's, takes her in, they both relish the companionship.
Josiah's avaricious relatives, though, resent his generosity and are furious when he encourages Janet to stay at Crillion Keep, and he is forced to think of a way to thwart their scheming. Janet's love, penniless lawyers' clerk Fingal McLauchlan, is unable to spirit her away, and she faces a dilemma when Josiah offers her marriage and security.