Chris Hale has loaded up on supplies because he has learned the Army has closed the normal trail so the wagon train is forced to take a difficult and dry route via the desert. He has tried to bolster the spirit of the people before they start but on the trail they have a few people die including a pregnant woman who died during child birth. One of the members, Judge Arthur Forbes, has questioned many of the orders made by Chris and is highly respected by others. Also on the train is Aaron and Geneva Balfour from back east where Geneva was raised in a privileged family. Pregnant and upset she burns the supplies Chris bought thinking the train will return east and imperiling the whole wagon train. Complicating things is the fact that a fort Chris was counting on is closed so he has lied to the train to keep people moving.