Escaping into the fantasy of his books when he's not working in the general store, Ethan Keller has lived a sheltered life in his mother's boarding house. One day, an enigmatic cowboy passing through the small Texas town takes an immediate liking to the shy 17-year-old.
Ethan is intrigued by the attention, and the cowboy eventually charms him into signing on to a 900-mile cattle drive. Ethan soon finds that his feelings for this cowboy run deeper than just friendship.
He never knew that this kind of love even existed; and now for the two of them to make a life together in the untamed west, they must face nearly insurmountable odds if they are to survive.