* A ship called The Charlotta arrives in New York City; among her passengers are Swedish farmers and their families.
* The passengers are forced to remain on board for three additional days as New York health officials look for signs of cholera.
* The principal characters are Karl Oskar Nilsson, his wife, Kristina, and their three children.
* Karl plans to homestead in Taylors Falls, a settlement in the Minnesota Territory, more than fifteen hundred miles away; the ship's captain promises to locate a guide to help the immigrants reach their new homes.
* Oskar has chosen Taylors Falls because an old woman in their group, Fina-Kajsa, has a son named Anders Mansson who moved there four years ago and is reportedly doing well.
* Other members of the group include Karl's younger brother, Robert, and Kristina's uncle, Danjel Andreasson.
* Danjel's wife died during the voyage from Sweden and another woman...
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