Darcy Welburne has seen enough of politics from the long line of judges in her family. So when Grady, her fiance, tells her he is running for sheriff, she sets off to find the new freedom promised by the American West. She escapes to Juniper Junction, thinking a teaching job is waiting for her. When she discovers the position has already been filled, she resigns herself to becoming a Harvey Girl - a waitress at the chain of restaurants in the newly opened Arizona territory. Ashamed to tell her family that she is 'just a waitress,' she becomes a 'marvel of make-believe,' and, ignoring the pinches of her conscience, she embarks on an elaborate deception, sending home letters full of fictitious students, townspeople, and events recreated from the staff and diners of the Harvey House.