Raised in the British colony of Valparaíso, Chile, English orphan Eliza Sommers meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquín Andieta, a lowly clerk with ambitious dreams. When gold is discovered in the hills of northern California. Chileans, including Joaquín, head north to seek their fortune. Eliza, pregnant with Joaquín’s child, leaves behind everything she knows to follow her lover.
In the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco, Eliza must navigate a society dominated by greedy men. But with the help of her natural spirit and a good friend, Chinese doctor Tao Chi’en, Eliza soon comes to discover that her search for love has become a quest of personal freedom.