When, after serving in World War II, her grandson Joe Scott refuses to return to Barrneuk, the small farm his family has managed for three generations on the Clyde island of Bute, Celia Scott is furious. Celia kept the farm going after the premature death of her husband and has had to keep running it into her old age, as well as raising her three grandchildren after their mother died and their father, heartbroken, left the island. She and her granddaughter Jenny have had a hard time maintaining it during the war, with a little help from Iain, her oldest grandson. Iain was to have inherited the farm, but after he was crippled in a rail accident in 1939 Joe became the natural successor. Now, his refusal to take on Barrneuk has thrown the family into turmoil, ruining each family member's plans for the future. Celia's first instinct is to let the farm go but Jenny has other ideas and so she must convince Iain that he can take on the inheritance that is rightly his.