"To the wide and wild California country came a man destined to build an empire-John Augustus Sutter. At his side was Morgan Beck, out to stake his own claim at the confluence of two broad and powerful rivers: the Sacramento and the American. But even as the two adventurers followed the fortunes of a powerful young republic westward, the ill-fated Donner party became mired in the grip of a white, frozen death in the Sierra Nevadas. Suddenly Sutter and Beck were torn between the hot winds of revolution and the desperate pleas of an immigrant party reduced to the icy horrrors of cannibalism. At stake was the greatest agricultural empire in California-Sutter's Fort-resting along the wide,free banks of the American River."