It is 1931 in Fremont County, Kansas, and Deborah Nelson's husband, Christian, disappeared months ago. But Deborah has no time to feel sorry for herself. Two children need her love, livestock require feeding, and farm crops must be tilled. Deborah is desperately trying to survive in a man's world-an especially challenging task for a woman believed to be an Indian.
Even after a drought begins to cause dire conditions, Deborah refuses to leave, for her soul is still connected with the land. She decides she must sell her cattle and stop planting wheat and then finds herself fighting a field fire that comes close to burning her farmstead and threatens the life of her old friend. Things go from bad to worse when she, her children, and the community experience the first horrifying dirt storm of the drought. Deborah partners with her closest neighbors to share labor and valuable resources, not realizing that very soon, one neighbor will leave her with five more mouths to feed and a promise he may not be able to keep.
The Marrow of Life continues the saga of one woman's determined journey through the hardships of the Depression and Dust Bowl era as she slowly comes to the realization that she must turn to others for help.