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The beautiful and wealthy Amanda Lawrence gratefully accepts a ride from mining engineer Jonathan "Dart" Dartland and his alcoholic friend, Dr. Hugh Slater, when the car she has borrowed from the La Paz Guest Ranch breaks down in the Arizona desert. Although Hugh flirts with her, it is the handsome and reserved engineer who attracts her, and before saying goodbye, she invites the two to a dinner party in her mother's suite that evening. Dart arrives late, explaining as he walks with Amanda that he dislikes parties, people and mothers, particularly wealthy Eastern mothers with spoiled and beautiful daughters. Undaunted, Amanda kisses him and the two soon find that they are in love. Dart admits that his own mother is a Mescalero Apache, who settled on the local reservation following the death of his father, a Boston professor. Mortified at her earlier admission that Indians give her "the creeps," Amanda apologizes, and they kiss again. In the morning, Amanda dreamily informs her mother that they soon will have Indians in the family, whereupon Mrs. Lawrence books tickets for the flight back to New York. That afternoon, Amanda proposes to Dart, and on the following day, they are wed. The happy-go-lucky Amanda is unconcerned when Mrs. Mablett, the meddling wife of Dart's foreman, describes Apaches as "cruel, dangerous, and...tight-mouthed," but she is disturbed when Dart angrily sends her away from the mine, explaining that the Apache workers consider a woman in the underground tunnels a jinx. The newlyweds make up that evening, and Dart shows her the foxfire, a phosphorescent nighttime glow caused by the rotten timbers of the abandoned Foxfire mine, which he believes contains an undiscovered vein of gold. Over the next few months, Dart remains preoccupied with his work while Amanda develops an attachment to Hugh, which although understood by her as an innocent friendship, is taken more seriously by the lovesick doctor. Hugh's nurse, Maria Conchera, who is also part Apache, loves the doctor, and her jealous remarks fuel the town's appetite for gossip. Amanda opens Dart's foot locker and learns that his grandfather Tanosay was a respected Apache chief, but Dart is sensitive about his background and mistakes her interest for amusement. His anger and reticence cause Amanda to conceal her pregnancy from Dart, and the situation worsens when mine owner Ernest Tyson agrees to explore the Foxfire mine at Amanda's rather than Dart's prompting. While Dart gets the Foxfire project underway, Amanda visits the Apache reservation on a whim, and there finally meets her mother-in-law, Princess Saba. She listens in bewilderment as Saba explains that Apache boys over the age of twelve are expected to leave their mothers, never again exhibiting tears or weakness. The child Amanda bears, she continues, will be of little concern to Dart before reaching that age. After explaining that her husband's death was almost too much to endure, she concludes that the Indian philosophy of love is the right one: love is only temporary. Meanwhile, Dart, unable to find his wife, joins Maria in assuming that she has "gone off somewhere" with Hugh. By the time Amanda returns to town, Dart is angry and drunk. Grabbing her roughly, he roars that Apache men tear out the hair of women who are unfaithful. Dart stays at the mine for several days, unaware that Amanda has suffered a miscarriage. When he finally learns the truth, he rushes to the hospital, but Amanda sends him away. Later, she tells Dart the marriage is over because he treated her "like a squaw." Obsessed with finding the lost Foxfire gold, Dart drives his men too hard, and one day, the mine collapses. After helping the men out, the injured Dart climbs into a newly opened tunnel, where he finds, along with some old Apache tools and wall paintings, a rich vein of gold. Tyson and Dart's Apache friend, Walt Whitman, are thrilled by the discovery, but Dart, his hands bandaged, thinks only of Amanda. When Maria tells Amanda, who is about to leave for New York, about Dart's injury, Amanda rushes back to her husband. Admitting that he needs her, Dart explains that he is slow at love, but is no longer afraid of it. They kiss as the new "Foxfire Gold Company" sign is put in place.