On a stormy, winter night in nineteenth-century Massachusetts, young Joshua Jenkins becomes orphaned by a blizzard. For a short time two loving strangers, Tom and Belle, care for the boy, but they know the nearby Shaker village will provide him with a better upbringing. It is here Joshua grows and learns the goodness and values of the Shaker people.
As Joshua matures into a young man, he falls in love with Sara. They leave the community to start a new way of life in a growing America. The enterprising Joshua establishes a fine foundation for his family by building a factoryonly to have tragedy take it from him. But his Shaker upbringing and values lead him to fight back and regain the American dream for himself, his family, and his grandson Rags.
Rags, although having inherited the abilities of his grandfather, is different from his grandfather Joshua in many ways. However, unbeknown to him, he too will have to one day raise a son, a young boy named Patches who has adopted Rags as his family.
Spanning several generations, Rags tells of hard times and good times, of more simple times and more complex times, and brings us back to a way of life in the hard but fun-filled good old days.