Shannon Conner Smith is a young widow living alone on harsh Colorado land. Her husband, who was really her great-uncle, had died 3 years earlier and Shannon has been fending for herself as best she can. She's poor, terrible at hunting, and has the unwanted attention of many men focused on her. When she is being taunted by four men in town Whip Moran steps in and defends her. Whip is a wanderer who has spent the majority of his life traveling around the world, and never returns to the same place twice. He is entranced by Shannon and decides to have an affair with the young widow. Shannon just wants him to leave her alone.
Whip goes about taming and wooing her as he would a skittish mustang, with gifts and from a distance at first. He hunts food for Shannon and does alot of manual labor. As she grows used to his presence Whip begins to build a relationship with her. His desire for her is stronger than anything he has ever felt for any other woman, but Whip is only looking for a short affair. He's a yondering man by nature, and his main goal in life is to "find the sunrise that he's never seen." But things become complicated when Shannon falls in love with him. Whip cares for Shannon, but he won't be tied down by anyone or anything. Before he goes wandering again he needs to be sure that she is taken care of. First he tries to get her to move in with his sister and help her out around the house, but Shannon refuses. Whip decided Shannon needs alot of money so that she can buy herself a home in a safer area. He mines for gold around her cabin with no luck. He decides to give her some of his own gold but tells her that he mined it from her land. After giving her the gold he leaves her, although it is the hardest thing he's ever done.
When Shannon finds out that the gold was really Whip's she comes to the conclusion that she was nothing but a whore to him and that the gold was her payment. When Whip finally realizes that he's in love with Shannon he must find a way to get back to her and make her understand his true feelings.
This report prepared by Jess