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West Texas, the 1950's. Buck, a motherless, brilliant boy whose wealthy father's death leaves him without purpose, seeks answers in a quest to medical school. He succeeds but lapses into drink and despair. At his bunkhouse door appears a beautiful and perceptive Hispanic girl-Maria, a dark wanderer who speaks English like a peeress. She rescues him and restores his home to its glory. Falling in love, Buck is inspired and in his bam laboratory builds a device which can prevent deaths like his father's. One great obstacle remains and torments the inventor. Maria, pregnant, proud and unwilling to distract him, strikes out on her own. Her real reason for leaving and her devotion to Buck are obscured by the trickery of Gaines Brill, a medical classmate who comes to cash in 011 Buck's work and fortune. With intense ambition Brill builds a promising enterprise, enlisting the aid of shadowy Washington figures who want to control and pervert the device Buck created. Finally unable to stay away Maria returns with her infant and bestows upon Buck the key to completion of his work. Buck's last experiment upon himself, however, produces a fatal injury and Maria succumbs as well, both of their deaths caused by Brill's neglect and consuming greed. But the baby girl survives. Her life is used by Brill in his pose as a humane industrialist, but her enlightenment, and her revenge, will come.

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