This first film adaptation of Willa Cather's classic novel is a coming-of-age story set in 1880s Nebraska. Orphaned after his parents die in a smallpox epidemic in Virginia, the teenaged Jimmy Burden (Neil Patrick Harris) moves to the farm of his grandparents (Jason Robards, Eva Marie Saint) outside Black Hawk, Nebraska. Their neighbours, newly arrived from Bohemia, are the Shimerda family, and Jimmy instantly becomes friends with their 15-year-old daughter, Antonia (Elina Lowensohn). Jimmy is pulled in two directions; AntoniaGÇÖs father wants him to teach her English, but his grandfather is wary of her distracting Jimmy from his own studies. After tragedy strikes the Shimerda family, Jimmy moves to town with his aging grandparents, who want to nurture his potential. Antonia follows Jimmy, but it's made clear that she is not to distract Jimmy from his studies. Jimmy and Antonia maintain their friendship through the years, understanding that the bond they formed as adolescents will endure despite their wildly different lives.