It's show day, 1929, and the Balfour family; Anne, Walter, Norman, Kitty, Elsa and Robert (Bob) are off to Tuparra to have fun on what is always the happiest and best day of the year for the children. Dressed in their much-mended clothes, this desperately poor family are excited about the prospect of their entries in the cakes, vegetables, creative writing and 'best pony'competitions possibly winning a prize. For the somewhat dour Walter Balfour, the show means that if his superb sow, Leopoldina, wins the blue ribbon, one of his neighbours will pay him 20 pounds for her and the Balfours need the money to pay the monthly mortgage on their small, unyielding farm or they will be out on the street.
When everybody's entries take first prize except the sow, the neighbour refuses to buy her but Walter is too proud to let Kitty take a job as a kitchen hand with the immensely wealthy Craig family until Kitty takes matters into her own hands and accepts. For Bob, it is a time of heartache when his beloved pony, Toby, is sold to Jim Craig for his young beast of a daughter, Clara. Again, this is because the family are in desperate need of finances.
Anne Balfour came from a wealthy family in Adelaide but married Walter because she loved him dearly and she still does. Her father, Dr. Dalgleish, was an eminent surgeon and they owned a marvellous home caused "Samarkand", known as 'the finest house in Adelaide'.
For Kitty, she finds herself falling in love with a young French doctor who has no family money of his own, but when he becomes engaged to a wealthy socialite who can purchase him a practice, she realises that there is no hope for them even though he tells her he loves her.
A seemingly ordinary letter for Anne changes everything when she realises that her immensely wealthy Uncle Joseph, who promised to leave her 1000 Guineas upon his death, has, in fact left her, his only living relative, two hundred thousand pounds, which means the Balfours now have more money than they ever dreamed possible and are soon on their way to live in Adelaide, back at "Samarkand" which should make them the happiest people in the world, but will it?moreless