From her grandfather's weather-beaten cabin on the marshy coast of La Plaisance Bay, 'Toinette Chevalier dreams of the outside world: a world beyond the land of few roads, unrestrained by the unbeaten terrain, away from the loneliness and isolation of the northeastern winter.
She yearns for a place across the expansive lake where she can move about freely, but the elements are not the only barrier keeping her from leaving the cabin behind. When Captain Placide Labadee, a regular business partner of Grandfather Chevalier's, comes ashore one day from Canada, 'Toinette quickly recognizes an opportunity for escape, a potential bridge between the cabin and the distant world.
Evading the sheltering grasp of her overprotective grandfather and defying certain social taboos, 'Toinette strikes up a relationship with the captain, to the concern of many of those around them.
Yet, as each romanticizes in the other what the other cares for least in themselves-'Toinette longing for Placide's wayfaring freedom, Placide longing for 'Toinette's secluded privacy-each loses sight of what is truly important to them.
Exposed to the surging gales of the northeastern elements, the two scramble to patch up the holes in their faltering partnership-to gain back in love what they may have lost forever in lust.