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Novelist Stephen Purcell visits his friend, Larry Hanrahan, a veterinarian and owner of the Stallion Road ranch in California's Madre Range. He quickly learns that Larry is having an affair with Daisy Otis, wife of banker Ben, who holds the mortgage on the ranch. Shortly after his arrival, Chris, the young sister of horsebreeder Rory Teller, rides through the pouring rain to ask Larry to treat their prize jumping mare, Sultan's Pride, who is very ill. Rory explains that if Sulty wins the coming jumping match, she will be able to sell her for enough money to save her business. Both Steve and Larry are attracted to the beautiful Rory, and later, after the mare recovers, Steve invites her to join him and Larry at the beach, where they have gone to condition Larry's horses. Steve makes a pass at Rory, who turns him down, and when he subsequently sees Rory kiss Larry passionately, he leaves the beach for a local bar. After a fling with Lana Rock, Steve returns to Stallion Road. Rory stops by, and Larry lets her ride Tar Baby, his entry in the competition. Rory is annoyed when she learns that Daisy will be riding Larry's horse in the contest. By the end of the competition, Rory and Daisy are finalists, but Rory's last jump is interrupted when a small child runs in the horse's path. Larry tries to stop her from jumping again and then tries to withdraw Tar Baby, but Rory refuses to win by default and takes her last jump, winning the contest. Several days later, Ben summons Larry to look at his sick cattle, and Larry diagnoses an outbreak of anthrax. Fearing that the disease will spread throughout the valley, Larry works through the night to inoculate the healthy cattle. In the meantime, Sulty again becomes ill, and Rory begs Larry to come, unaware of the epidemic. He refuses, but does not explain why. Rory mistakenly believes that Larry is giving preference to the cattle because he owes Ben money and because he is in love with Daisy, and breaks off their relationship. After Sulty dies, the other horse breeders stop using Larry because of his perceived neglect of Rory's horse. Rory turns to Steve on the rebound, and they become engaged to marry. Larry takes advantage of the extra time on his hands to develop a serum against anthrax. On the eve of her wedding to Steve, Rory calls Larry in desperation because all her horses have become ill. Larry diagnoses anthrax and tries his experimental serum. The disease spreads among the other breeders, but Larry's serum seems to work in most cases. Then, Larry develops anthrax and is on the verge of death. Dr. Stephen is reluctant to use Larry's experimental serum on him, but when Rory learns there is no chance for his recovery, she secretly injects him. After Larry recovers, he and Rory are reconciled, and she agrees to marry him. Steve returns home to write a new novel that he will title Stallion Road .