Novelist Richard Harland and socialite Ellen Berent meet on a train to New Mexico. They are immediately attracted to each other, soon fall in love and decide to get married, about which everyone they know is happy except Ellen's fiance back home, politician Russell Quinton. However, Richard and Ellen's love for each other is different than that of the other as Ellen demonstrates in the manner which she tells everyone of their impending marriage. Ellen's love for Richard is an obsessive, possessive one, much like the love she had for her now deceased father, who Richard physically resembles. Ellen wants Richard all to herself and resents anyone who even remotely takes a place in his life and heart, even if his love for that person is not a romantic one. These people include most specifically Richard's physically disabled teen-aged brother Danny Harland, Ellen's own adopted sister Ruth Berent, and a young man neither has gotten a chance to really know yet. After time, Richard learns to what extent Ellen will go to get what she wants, she who always wins.