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Letty, a girl from Virginia, trainbound for her cousin's ranch in the western prairies, meets Roddy, who hints at a marriage proposal. At the ranch, Cora's children and husband become too fond of Letty, and she is forced to leave. With nowhere to go, she decides to accept Roddy's implied invitation to become his wife. When she discovers him already married, she hastily marries Lige, a roughhewn son of the soil at whom she had previously scoffed. While Lige is away for a round-up of wild horses during a particularly fierce windstorm, Roddy forces his way into Lige's home and stays the night with Letty, urging her to go with him in the morning. She refuses, shoots him when he becomes insistent, laboriously drags his body outside, and buries it in the shifting sand. Letty spends a day of terror that approaches madness; but Lige returns, and Letty decides that she no longer wishes to return to Virginia--they will face the wind together.