While most girls her age are at home learning how to cook and sew, twelve-year-old Katie Klien is learning how to sneak on and off trains, hide in dark alleys and creep through underground tunnels. Katie is determined to keep the promise she made to her ma: that she will make sure her brothers and sisters are safe and loved. But how? She doesn't know where they are. It’s 1898. With their pa in prison and their ma deathly ill, the six Klien children are lined up on the steps of the county courthouse and given away. Katie must live in a strict, loveless household. When she finds out that her older brother has died under mysterious circumstances and her little brother and sister are in an orphanage, Katie knows she must act. Using all of her wits and the help of a shy boy, Katie bolts. For in order to keep her promise, she must not only find the children, she must steal them away.