The Brutal Road West It's late summer 1838. President Martin Van Buren issues an order that the fifteen thousand Cherokee Indians living in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina are to be evicted from their homeland. Forced to migrate to Indian Territory, the Cherokees begin their tragic, one-thousand-mile journey westward. Most of the seven thousand soldiers escorting them along the way are brutally cruel. But Cherokee Rose, an eighteen-year-old Indian girl, finds one soldier, Lieutenant Britt Claiborne, willing to stand up for them. Both Christians, Cherokee Rose discovers that Britt is also a quarter Cherokee himself. It's upon the Trail of Tears that they fall in love, dreaming of one day marrying and finding a place to call home together.