The Setting

The fictional Owen family came to Baker at the beginning of the 20th century. A postcard shows the town in 1918. The Owen Short Hills Ranch is located in the foothills of the Elkhorn mountains, part of the Blue Mountains west of Baker. In its heyday, the Owen family raised cattle and grew their own feed, fruits and vegetables. Mia’s grandfather also purchased property in town and adjacent acreage.

When Mia arrives the ranch house and property have been neglected. Her aunt has been living there and the responsibilities have overwhelmed her. Julia’s in bad health but vehemently refuses Mia’s help and wants her to leave. Unfortunately Mia’s apartment was destroyed in a fire and she has no place to live.

Mia discovers she has roots in Baker, people knew her grandparents and mother. A neighbor’s acceptance helps her realize that she’s part of a continuum that began at the beginning of the 20thcentury and continues to include her and her daughter. 

Link to more about homesteading in Oregon

Postcard Birdseye view of Baker Oregon
Birdseye view of Baker City Oregon, 1918