Strong-minded, irrepressible Miranda Griscom is content working as a live-in housekeeper for the young Spafford family. Here she is loved and appreciated in contrast to her lonely childhood as an unwanted granddaughter. When a wealthy neighbor proposes marriage so that she can care for his motherless children, she is delighted to show him the door, proud that she is “a free and independent woman who can earn her own living”.
In spite of her own sad beginning, Miranda has always championed the underdog. In her youth she devised a way to thwart the schoolteacher from unfairly giving the neighborhood bad boy a beating. Years later, in a comical plan involving mesmerizing and “ghosts”, she manages to catch the person responsible for the murder that caused her friend to flee the town. The story expands from the small town to include real personages of the mid 19th century: Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph; Dr. Marcus Whitman, missionary and blazer of the Oregon Trail. But it is chiefly the story of courageous-hearted, indomitable Miranda, a unique and endearing character.