Orville Combs (Matt) and his wife Emaline (Samantha Barks) have come to California at the height of the gold rush in hopes of striking it rich, but they've come a little too late. All the big easy gold has been found, and what's left isn't worth much. They're on the verge of packing it in and heading back East when a wizened older miner named Lemuel tells Orville about a condemend mine that's for sale at a price. Orville is intrigued--could this mine be his salvation, his path to fortunes untold? Emaline doesn't think so. She's convinced the mine is deadly, and is afraid of not only losing Orville but also of what life would become for her as a young widow in a harsh frontier town like theirs. Better to be poor and alive, than rich and dead. Orville loves Emaline and is resigned to heed her warning about the mine until Lemuel suddenly drops dead in the middle of a day's work. Now, terrified that Lemuel's fate could one day become his own, Orville throws caution to the wind and buys the mine. Thus, with a lonesome canary as his only companion, Orville kisses Emaline goodbye and heads off to seek his fortune inside the mine. He descends into the abyss, combing the walls for hints of gold, but finding none. His frustration mounts with each unyiedling stone, and he fears buying the mine may have been for naught. But then, deep in belly of the mine, he strikes gold. His dream come true, he rejoices, thinking his life and Emaline's are forever changed. Only too late, however, does he discover that Emaline's fears about the mine were well-founded, and what was once a dream come true quickly turns into a nightmare from which he may never wake up.