Jim Burden is a business man in New York. He grew up in Black Hawk with his grandparents. Jim and his grandparents soon meet an immigrant family, the Shimerdas, who were also bound for Black Hawk. The only one in the family that spoke English was Antonia, a young girl about JimÃÂÃÂs age. Jim and Antonia quickly became friends. The relationship formed between Jim and Antonia was the shaping force of JimÃÂÃÂs life.
When Antonia was little she has done a lot more than Jim has ever done. This influenced Jim to experience things in the world. One Sunday evening Jim toke his first of many long pony rides. Jim rode twice a week to the post office with Antonia accompanying him at times. Jim helps Antonia out by giving her regular English lessons. Jim soon discovered dancing in the evenings. He would go out and dance with Antonia and the Harlings.
The pavilion quickly became the center of town life, especially on Saturday nights, when the dancing carried on until midnight.
Antonia is a helpful and giving person. She loves to help Mrs. Burden around the house. Antonia took Jim to visit a pair of Russian immigrants who her family has befriended. They help them by milking the cows and in return they got a snack of melons. One time, Jim accompanied Mrs. Burden to the garden to pick potatoes for supper. Thesehelpful and giving acts rubbed off on Jim later in the years. Around Christmas JimDaugherty 2brought a gift basket of food to Mrs. Shimerda because he knew that the little amount offood they have stored up for the winter was rotten. Antonia receives a lot of good things in life rewarding her for all the times she had helped others. One day Antonia and Jim encounter Mr.