A woman sees her fiancé murdered, is lost in despair, and marries a wealthy lawyer; but a younger man awakens love in her again.
Ned Montgomery (Philip Reed) and Marian Ormsby (Barbara Stanwyck) kiss and look forward to marrying; but while leaving their party Ned is killed by a jealous husband. Marian goes to the Rockies and walks in the forest. She falls, and Daniel Forrester (Frank Morgan) carries her back. Rosa (Rafaela Ottiano) takes care of Marian, who thanks Dan but is bitter. Dan keeps seeing Marian and says she must face life. He asks her to marry. As he is leaving, she agrees even though she does not love him. He says their marriage will be based on honesty. Dan helps her to meet his friends. Marian visits Dan in his office and meets lawyer Neil Herbert (Lyle Talbot). Dan has a house built for Marian. At a party Marian dances with Neil, who says he is resigning because he is in love with her; but she stops him and tells Dan he is staying.
While Marian is working in her garden, Frank Ellinger (Ricardo Cortez) lands his airplane. He kisses her, and she slaps him. At a party Marian learns that Frank is an air transport owner. She asks to go to New York with Dan; but he says no. Marian finds Frank at her home, and they do things together. Neil finds Marian with Frank and leaves. Frank kisses Marian and says he loves her. Marian tells him she must talk with Dan. Marian greets Dan, but he is busy with a big case. Marian is honest with Dan and says she is in love. Dan understands, and she cries. Dan stays up all night. In court Dan is distracted and asks to be excused.
Marian learns that Dan is ill from a heart attack and tells Frank that she owes her life to Dan. Marian stays with Dan; but he insists on honesty and urges her to go because it has ended. Rosa tells Marian not to drink. Neil tells Dan his client is waiting for him. Marian talks to Neil about life and says Dan won't want her and that she is lost. Dan asks Marian to stay near him and says he loves her. She suggests they travel, and he asks for a kiss. Marian tells Dan that she will never be lost again.
Willa Cather was so disappointed that her story was changed so much that she never allowed another adaptation of her work during her life. Yet in this drama Marian learns that honesty and caring are essential to true love and that what is often called love is merely sexual attraction.