Fanny Collins has arrived in Oregon after traversing the Oregon Trail in 1846 with her family. It is now 1848 and the Gold Rush is about to begin. Fanny has found a friend and partner in Carola Beaumont and together the two young girls set up in a 'boudoir' in Chemeketa (later named Salem) to provide sexual services for single men. There is a disarming innocence to their intentions, which is not entirely destroyed after a year and a half in the job. The great majority of their clients are pleasant and appreciative. There are, however, exceptions. As the Gold Rush escalates, fortunes change for almost everyone. With births and deaths as well as countless sexual encounters, this story embraces the whole of pioneer life.