In 1928, the twenties roar with Prohibition and craziness. Carla Curby, a young teacher and photographer, arrives in Southern California from rural Kansas to visit girlhood friends. She wants to put a broken engagement behind her. Carla anticipates an exciting summer away from her staid Mennonite town, a summer where lipstick, bobbed hair, and dancing the Charleston are normal. She doesn’t anticipate the graft and corruption that permeate life in the sunshine state where many dream of finding gold or hitting oil.
Carla is pulled into the local art scene and becomes friendly with a pair of Bohemian artists who admire her photography. When her mother insists she return home to help with summer chores, Carla, in an act of uncharacteristic defiance, sells her return ticket, sends her mother the money, and determines to stay in California.
Her choice haunts her, but love beckons as she becomes involved with two men: one a painter and the other a get-rich-quick dreamer. On the uncertain road ahead, Carla travels far from her safe Kansas life. A young woman with gumption and perseverance, she will be required to make hard decisions and to face challenges that were never part of her dreams.