Sam Rothman’s first days in America reveal a family bond that will shape his success and his daughter’s early emotional trials. When Mark is rejected by Violette, he lands in the arms of a familiar friend.
Circa 1875, a young and hopeful Sam Rothman and his wife Ellen arrive in America through Ellis Island. On the streets of NYC they face the harsh realities of anti-semitism. Confronted with ridicule from an angry white nationalist, an empathetic stranger diffuses the situation. He is the wealthy and respected Armen Silver, a New York aristocrat whose kindness is the seed of a lasting friendship between the two families.
Sam impresses Armen with his business acumen and knowledge of financial matters. Armen invites Sam to visit the offices of Herbert Silver & Company where he is ultimately offered a job with the underwriting company.
Armen, his wife Anna Goldmark and the Rothmans quickly become close friends. They both welcome their first children, Violette Rothman and Sydney Silver. However, Sam has business plans of his own and backed by the financing of the Silver Company, his family is soon on a train en route to the Midwest.
It is in Elders, Ohio that Sam establishes the Rothman Stove Company. There, both Sam’s business and his daughter grow quickly. And while his business becomes the talk of the town, he and Ellen raise and educate Violette privately and mostly out of view of the townsfolk. When Ellen dies from a sudden heart attack, Sam becomes reclusive, holing himself and his daughter inside their home. A young Violette finds a musical escape in her love of piano.
Return to 1900, Mark Mann stands outside the piano room in Sam Rothman’s house, where Violette, now a lovely young lady, plays softly. Mark is unsure if he should risk it.
He can’t control himself and enters the room. Violette is surprised but entertains him in a lively conversation filled with obvious sparks. But Violette ultimately declines his advances, informing him she is engaged to marry Sydney Silver that same summer.
Defeated, Mark retreats back to the reliable affection of Colleen Dunn. Colleen can’t resist and they fornucate in the kitchen of the Dunn restaurant.