On the western frontier of Texas, young Sam Houston Gossett is appalled when his father marries the teen-age widow, Gretel, to care for his motherless siblings. Torn between attraction to Gretel, jealousy, and resentment, Sam quarrels with Pa and is banished from the family. He finds sanctuary with friendly Indians until convinced by Choctaw Bill Robinson, saddlebags preacher, to reconcile with Pa. On the way home he suffers an accidental blow to the head and regains consciousness with no memory of who he is. He begins to call himself Jeff Barber and embarks on an odyssey across Texas in a quest to regain his lost identity. Two young women are eager to marry him, but he cannot commit until he remembers who he is. In his travels he encounters natural disasters, Civil War woes, and murder. A trip to First Monday Trade Days in Canton brings a chance encounter that jogs his lost memory, and Sam must return home to face Pa and Gretel.