This is the story of a one-sided love affair that eventually turns around.
Have you ever yearned for a more exciting life? Jack does. In fact, when he hears tales of a gold rush on the West Coast of the United States, he sells his Winthrop, Massachusetts, dry goods store and bundles up his possessions and takes the quickest stage coach out of town. During his cross-country trip, he loses all his possessions due to vehicle accidents, an Indian raid, and run-ins with unscrupulous people. When he lands in the gold rush territory of Washington State, he has only a twenty-dollar gold piece to his name. With it, he buys a pick and a shovel, an old donkey named Annabelle, and some grub. He heads out to look for gold. During their quest, Annabelle saves Jack from a rattlesnake attack and Jack saves Annabelle from a cougar attack.
Time after time Jack finds gold; soon he is wealthy. Other miners call him "Cascade Jack:. However, he doesn't realize until too late that it is Annabelle that is so good at finding gold. When he sells her to an old curmudgeon miner, she becomes depressed. She has lost the one true love of her life.
Jack handles his wealth badly and eventually loses it all. When he seeks gold again, he can't find it. He comes to the understanding that it was Annabelle that had a nose for finding it. In the interim, Annabelle loses her zest for life. Not until Jack buys her back, does her energy return and her love rekindle. By that time, Jack has fallen in love, too.