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After his beloved wife Frances dies, Sam Crockett moves from Kansas City back to his old ranch in Texas. Accompanying Sam are his two young sons, Steve and Yo-Yo, and his grandfather, Firth Crockett, who is delighted to be returning to "the old home place" he built. Upon their arrival, the Crocketts are dismayed to see that the ranchhouse is in extensive disrepair, and that roaming cattle from the neighboring Marshall ranch have overgrazed the land. As he is surveying the damage, Sam hears some noise and sees Rod Murray and his foreman, Red, chase and beat a man. When Sam questions Rod, an old acquaintance, he reveals that because he married Averill, the eldest daughter of the late Mr. Marshall, he now runs the Marshall ranch, and that he was beating the man for poaching. Sam chastises Rod for allowing the Marshall cattle to graze on the Crocketts' land, but Rod casually denies any wrongdoing. That night, Grandpa persuades Sam to attend a movie with the boys, and while he is taking his seat, Sam's belt gets caught in the hair of a woman in the row ahead of him. Back at home, Grandpa teases Sam about the pretty woman, but Sam replies that he is not interested in love and cares only about his children's future. The next day, neighbor Stud Spiller stops by and offers to lend Sam a team of mules for plowing and suggests that he raise a flock of turkeys for sale. When Sam mentions that he needs more money, as he has a land note due in November, Stud mentions that Rod is looking for someone to build new fencing for him. Sam persuades Rod to hire him, and then runs into the woman from the theater, whom he finally recognizes as Ann Marshall, Averill's younger sister. Rod informs Sam that Ann, a notorious flirt, is engaged to Dr. Jim Harris, and that he and Averill are pleased about the advantageous match. Soon after, Ann makes her interest in Sam clear, although he tells her that he hates Texas and came home only because it was his wife's dying wish for their children to be reared there. Later, while Steve is at school and Sam is working, Grandpa leaves the napping Yo-Yo to go hunting. Yo-Yo wakes up and, with his puppy Yip-Yip, wanders over to the Marshall ranch, where he charms Ann with his tall tales. When Sam returns home that evening, he is furious to learn that Grandpa has poached a deer and warns him that they need to keep peace with Rod. Their argument is interrupted when they realize that Yo-Yo is missing, but Ann soon brings him home and Sam gratefully thanks her. Ann spends more time with the family, and as the months pass, Grandpa grows frustrated by Sam and Steve's inability to let go of Frances and move on with their lives. Grandpa continues his poaching, and Rod threatens Sam that he will go after the old man if he does not stop. One evening, at a church social, Ann tells Sam that he has changed and once again loves his ranch. Sam admits that she is right, but grows irritated when she reveals that Rod is worried that she will marry Sam and he will gain control of her half of the ranch. Although Sam cannot express himself in words, he embraces Ann, but she spots his wedding ring and declares that their relationship will never work. Sam then meets Jim, and although he is jealous, must admit that he is a decent, caring man. Later, Sam is pleased when he sells his watermelon crop and promises the buyer that he will begin harvesting it the following day. That afternoon, Grandpa poaches another deer and, an infuriated Rod shoots at him. Grandpa outwits Rod and chases him away, although at dinner, Sam chastises Grandpa for his thoughtless behavior. Having mortgaged the ranch to pay Frances' medical bills, Sam reminds Grandpa how desperately they need money, and takes away his rifle. Ashamed and heartbroken, Grandpa wanders off to his room, and the following morning, suffers a stroke while trying to drive away Rod's cattle, which Rod had "accidentally" let loose in Sam's melon patch to get back at Grandpa. Ann devotedly nurses Grandpa, and Sam, distressed by the old man's suffering, returns his rifle. Jim tells Sam that Grandpa will recover eventually and prescribes a shot of whiskey to relieve Sam's tension. His inhibitions relaxed, Sam is able to tell Ann that he wants her, but their embrace is interrupted by Rod. The next morning, as Ann feeds Grandpa, he tries to get her to admit that she would rather marry Sam than Jim, but she again runs away when Steven brings out photos of his mother. Sam chases after her and Ann tells him that she cannot handle the "competition" from Frances, and that their relationship is over. Later, at the end of October, Sam finishes the fencing, but Rod deliberately stalls on paying him. By late November, Sam must ask banker Isham Gilder for an extension on his loan, which Gilder readily grants. Sam sees Rod in town, however, and infuriated by his callousness, engages him in a fistfight and drags him to the bank to make good on his debt. Meanwhile, at the ranch, Grandpa stumbles out of bed to hunt for a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Steve and Yo-Yo follow him, and in the woods, Grandpa tells the boys that Ann would have made them a wonderful mother if they could have "let the living get on with living." Grandpa then suffers another stroke, and Steve runs to get Ann, who rushes to Grandpa's side but arrives too late. When Sam comes home, he learns that Grandpa has died, and after Jim sees Ann and Sam comfort each other, he realizes that he has lost Ann. Ann pleads with Sam to accept her, and overwhelmed, Sam replies with Yo-Yo and Grandpa's favorite word, "sure."