Her ex-husband is a violent, often drunk man; though he earns money working the tarsands in Fort St. John, he spends the money on alcohol and strippers, leaving Anna and their two children to fend for themselves.
Anna falls in love with William, and he helps with the family for a while, even becoming a type of step-father for her children. After a time he begins to withdraw from her; unbeknownst to Anna, his father has struck a deal with shady characters to keep their family business running. William learns of this and wants to keep her from it as much as he can.
Anna, completely in the dark, gives him an ultimatum: either tell her what is going on or she will leave with the kids. William refuses, and she makes good on her promise.