Jim was ten when he came to live with his grandparents on the prairie. Three years later, when he turned thirteen, his grandparents decided to move away from the farm to the nearby city of Black Hawk. Grandfather and grandmother "were getting old for the heavy work of the farm", and also, they wanted Jim to have the opportunity to go to school in the city. "Accordingly", they rented their homestead to the Widow Steavens and her bachelor brother, and bought a house belonging to Preacher White at the northern edge of Black Hawk. Rather than move with the family, Jake and Otto, who had worked on the farm so long and faithfully, decided to move west to Colorado, and try their hands at prospecting.
Black Hawk was "a clean, well-planted little prairie town". Jim remembers that he arrived in the city with his grandparents in March, and by April they "felt like town people". Grandfather and grandmother became active members of the local Baptist church, and Jim, "suddenly put down among boys of (his) own age", quickly learned the subtle intricacies of interacting with his contemporaries.
Once Jim moved to the city, he no longer saw Antonia on a regular basis like he had during his time on the farm. He continued to receive news about her from Mrs. Steavens, however, who had "grown as fond of Antonia" as Jim and his grandparents had been (Part II, Chapter 1).