Coming from the Scottish Highlands to Edinburgh in search of a husband, Alison Lamont finds herself in all sorts of trouble.
Thrown out of the fashionable ball of Lady Forres for a stolen kiss, she has to flee from a riot in the notorious Old Town and ends up staying the night with Willie Kemp, an eccentric boatbuilder. The trouble is, while Alison falls deeply in love with Mr Kemp, her aunt wishes her to marry the obnoxious but rich John Forres.
Alison takes drastic measures to solve her dilemma, including a long trip through the snow-covered Pentland Hills. But who is the owner of the mysterious footprints outside her cottage, and what secret is Mr. Kemp hiding?