Young Chris Guthrie lives a brutal life in the harsh landscape of northern Scotland, torn between her passion for the land, duty to her family and her love of books. When her mother, broken by repeated childbirths, takes her own life and poisons her two youngest children, Chris is left with her father to run the farm on her own. Soon she is alone, and for the first time can choose how to spend her life. But as the First World War begins, everything changes, and the young men leave Scotland for battle. The first in Gibbon's classic trilogy A Scot's Quair, Sunset Song is infused with local vernacular, and innovatively blends Scots and English in an intense description of Scottish life in the early twentieth century.