Katie and her papa are among a group of settlers building a town in the middle of the dusty, brown prairie. Every week the trains bring more people and more lumber to build houses, fences, and barns. New buildings are erected: A church with a steeple, a store with glass windows, even a schoolhouse with desks for seventeen children.
But one thing is missing: trees. When the townspeople take up a collection to order trees from back east Katie adds her own pennies and Papa's silver dollar.
When the tiny saplings finally arrive, Katie helps dig holes and fetch water. Then, in a quiet corner off the public square, Katie and Papa plant a flowering dogwood in memory of Mama.