Zandy Allan is a hard-working cattle rancher in a remote part of the American West who needs a hired hand more than he needs a wife. He sends away for a mail-order bride, a Swedish woman who lives near Minneapolis. Expecting a woman in her 20s, Zandy is disappointed when Hannah Lund turns out to be 32. He is not interested in love, only in work, although this does not keep him from misbehaving around a local woman named Maria. Hannah is here, in his mind, strictly to help Zandy run his ranch and provide future sons. However, the more time he spends with Hannah, the less he comes to treat her as a possession that he has bought, in no small part because of her insistence that she be treated with respect.