West Texas again (Tamzen, etc.) more than 100 years ago, although its little love story is also a little lesson many have by now absorbed if not altogether accepted. Mary Dove whose mother is dead, whose dog now dies and lies somewhere under the sheep, watches her father disappear, also to die and be buried by the young man Pardue who comes to live with her, fall in love with her, and later tell her what she had not known -- her mother was a ""nigger."" Aware that he cannot marry her in the laws of the state, he is also reluctant to break the ""law of God"" but in time they sanctify their feelings for each other with seven sheep as witnesses. But Red goes off from time to time among the settlers who are not slow to show them they have violated the ""people law"" and Mary Dove is pilloried when taken to be baptized. Finally they ride off along to their still more uncertain destiny -- particularly since Mary Dove is carrying his child. . . . As natural and open as a sunflower on the side of some back country road.