On the Ohio frontier in 1785 a woman was kept busy from dawn until nightfall, and while Arabella understood this, she longed for a dress that was not a hand-me-down from her older sister, Rachel. No matter how often Ary asked for something new that was just her own, her Mama told her not to be silly, and said that Rachel's hand-me-downs were nice and told the little redhead she should be happy to have three dresses! When Rachel finally marries, Ary is convinced that her days of hand-me-downs are over.
When Arabella witnesses her new brother-in-law punishing Rachel, she rushes to her defense, only to have the aggravating Thomas threaten to spank her, too! Ary vows she will never marry. She does not wish to be treated like a child by any man. Unfortunately, Rachel dies in childbirth, as does her baby. Thomas leaves for two years, but returns to find Ary all grown up. He rescues her from a sticky situation, and decides the redhead needs a firm spanking. He doesn't care about propriety, and the bare bottom spanking is enough to make Ary's father insist on marriage. While Ary stomps and argues and says 'no', in three weeks' time she finds herself married to Rachel's hand-me-down husband.