In this story, Shirley Hollister is the oldest daughter, supporting her ill mother and younger siblings after her father passed away. They are being evicted from their city home as it is to be torn down for bigger buildings, and Shirley does not know what to do. She uses her spare dime to take the longest city train ride she can find in hopes of spotting a place to live, which takes her out into the country where she spots a beautiful old stone barn surrounded by trees, a stream, and beautiful landscape. She decides to see if they could live there for the summer, and goes to talk to the wealthy young owner, Sydney Graham, to see if it can be rented. Sydney makes many improvements on the barn prior to the arrival of his new tenants, including adding partitions, a fireplace, windows, a pay phone, and running water, while being sensitive to Shirley's pride and her desire not to be an object of charity. Shirley and her siblings then fix the barn up with their old furniture, and surprise their ailing mother with a story of moving into a "shanty." The mother is overwhelmed with joy when she finds herself surrounded by such a lovely home in the country, and she begins to grow stronger. The children enjoy playing in the country after being shut up in the city, the youngest boy is separated from friends who were starting to be a bad influence on him, and the baby Doris endearingly watches the birdies. Things are going well until Shirley is called to Washington DC to assist with some important governmental papers for her employer, and a group of evil men kidnap her.