Octavia Beaupree, a young woman who has recently become a pauper, visits her aunt Ellen to discuss her financial situation. Octavia's lawyer has informed her that her late husband's estate is worth nothing, leaving her with no money. However, she does have a ranch in Texas that was part of her husband's assets.
Octavia decides to go to the ranch and live there, embracing the new life it offers. She reads a document describing the ranch:
‘The Rancho de las Sombras’ is situated one hundred and ten miles southeast of San Antonio, and thirty-eight miles from its nearest railroad station, Nopal, on the I. and G. N. Ranch, consists of 7,680 acres of well-watered land, with title conferred by State patents, and twenty-two sections, or 14,080 acres, partly under yearly running lease and partly bought under State’s twenty-year-purchase act. Eight thousand graded merino sheep, with the necessary equipment of horses, vehicles and general ranch paraphernalia. Ranch-house built of brick, with six rooms comfortably furnished according to the requirements of the climate. All within a strong barbed-wire fence.
She meets Teddy Westlake, the manager of the ranch, who is surprised to see her.
Teddy explains that he has been working on the ranch for a year and is responsible for its success. Octavia and Teddy spend time together, exploring the ranch and enjoying the prairie life. Eventually, they fall in love and decide to get married. Teddy reveals that he had purchased the ranch when he discovered that Octavia did not have a legal claim to it. They plan a simple wedding on the ranch, surrounded by the beauty of nature.