Caroline has been living in Cincinnati since she moved there with her family in 1849. Now in 1856, Papa and Mama share the “exciting news” that they will be moving to New Ulm, Minnesota the next spring. Free thinking Turnverien members in Cincinnati joined with a group of German immigrants from Chicago to create a German settlement on the frontier. There they would be free from persecution for their way of life and their “foreigness.” They could create a place that promoted mental and physical education where they could freely embrace socializing, music, political discussions and a German way of life while working hard and providing for their families.
Caroline is not happy with this news. It means leaving the place that she has known forever. Leaving her friends and most importantly, leaving her cat, Putsy Patterfeet. The trip down the Ohio River, up the Mississippi and then up the Minnesota River is a trip too long, even for a beloved cat.
Caroline is fiercely independent and has many questions. Mama says she questions what others assume. Why they have to move? Why is Minnesota the best place to go? Where will be live? How will Papa work? These are the answers Caroline seeks.