Calvin Hopper responds to the dissolution of a long-standing romantic relationship by leaving New England and going west. He ends up in Sage, Montana, a village at the base of the Absaroka mountains. More exile than adventurer, Cal seeks a measure of simplicity and routine, mostly to get his own life back in order. But if Cal is an exile, so is Sage, cut off by incessant snows that close the pass to the north and make it practically inaccessible for most of the year.
Cal eventually settles in, finds work, makes friends, and begins a romantic relationship with motel owner Amy O’Leary who has lost everything that she once held dear—her home, her husband, and her only son.
But Amy O’Leary is more than just a victim of bad luck. A powerful enemy has almost certainly arranged her son’s hit-and-run death, as well as the “accident” that killed a friend poking into the incident. As she and Cal become more involved in the events and each other, not even the isolation of Sage can offer protection. His exile becomes a fight for survival for both of them.