Leaving is the same as arriving.
In pursuit of her art, fleeing an unhappy affair, Nola Lynch sails from New York, through the Panama Canal, to California. Alone.
The year is 1914. Nola anticipates romance, excitement, adventure, and she finds it all in a ship-board magician with a dark secret and in a séance gone horribly wrong. But a shipwreck changes the course of her life when Nola becomes the hostage of a Mexican revolutionary who is not what she expects, and his brutal brother who is everything fearful. After her release, she is rescued by those enthralled by the chaos of motion pictures making and finally makes her way to Los Angeles.
Can a young woman alone in a rapidly changing United States find the strength to survive? Or will society and propriety defeat her independence in the end?