Dean DeFoe has loved Dorine Andrews as long as he can remember, growing up on neighboring ranches near the Badlands of South Dakota. After the death of her father, Dean tries to help her manage but she considers him interferring and obnoxious. When she returns from college to her ranch, she finds her house vandalized and some of her cattle missing. She has no choice but to accept Dean's offer of his home which he shares with his mother and brother, giving respectability to their living arrangements. Dorine, a devout Christian who struggles with a strong-will, accepts a job in Dean's ranch office and even though he forbids her to ride alone over to her ranch, she sneaks away frequently. It is on one of these rides that she stumbles onto the rustlers who kidnap her. Dean, his zany brother Darrell, and the insurance investigator assigned to the case, find and rescue Dorine. She finally realizes that Dean's domineering attitude was meant to be protective of her and through several chapters of ranch work, rodeos and a flight to save a sick neighbor's baby, she admits her growing love for Dean. His mother gives them her blessing and the book ends with their engagement party and a humor twist: her favorite saying is "when pigs fly" and Dean gives her a painting of the ranch with pigs flying over the ranchhouse in the blue Dakota skies.
This report prepared by Carol Benzel-Schmidt