It is 19th century London and transportation to Australia for petty crimes remains the easy option for the English judiciary. So when young Matt Tobin becomes embroiled in the crimes of his older brother, he is forced to leave London aboard a transport ship and start a new life in the Antipodes.
Unlike his older brother, Matt is ambitious and strives to make a success of his life. Working hard to acquire a range of skills and cast off the shame of his convict background, the boy grows into an industrious employee and settles into life on one of the new colony’s sprawling sheep stations.
Things go well for Matt until he meets Sarah, the spoilt and determined daughter of his employer. Despite his single-minded focus, Matt is unable to ignore her amorous advances and the heat of their desire soon results in the announcement of an unplanned pregnancy, and the wrath of Sarah’s self-righteous father.
The couple marry, and after their attempts to turn virgin bush into a profitable sheep property fail, they set off for a new life in a burgeoning gold mining town. But soon Matt’s past revisits him, with a force so powerful that everything he values, including his marriage, will be tested to the limit.