Set in the Scotland of the bleak 1870s, in the Colliery at Blacklaw, the dangerous work has taken the lives of many men. But the Stalkers dream of a better future. In Edinburgh, Drew Stalker studies law, determined never to return to the grinding poverty of his childhood. In the colliery town of Blacklaw the pit owner makes sure he gets every last ounce of profit from his pit men. And the Stalkers who remain in Blacklaw join a violent and bloody riot when the mine-owner pushes them, at last, too far. With her father and two brothers dead in a mine disaster, Mirrin Stalker, the most restless and vital of them all, takes to the road after her bitter experience with Houston Lamont, owner of the Colliery. She joins a group of travelling tinkers, finally to emerge on the stage of the music-hall stage in its heyday.