Glasgow is a city teeming with immigrants, rich and poor, schemers and victims alike. And the McKennas, fresh from Ireland, have no intention of being victims. When Nolan McKenna and his sisters arrived unannounced on Cissie Cassidy's doorstep claiming to be her late husband's long-lost relatives, the lonely widow is all too willing to be taken in and trusting enough to help them find them a foothold in the city. While Nolan wields a shovel for twelve back-breaking hours a day, the beautiful, trusting Clare takes up with the wrong man instead of the collection agent who yearns to make her his bride. Sharp-witted and pretty, Evie is made of more ambitious stuff and uses her job behind the bar of the Harp of Erin to attract the attentions of Russell Blackstock, builder and land-speculator, who owns half the tenements on Clydeside - and plans to own still more. The worlds of the wealthy Blackstocks and the penniless McKennas are set on a collision course that will mean huge changes for them, and for the city they live in.