Following her rescue from the Kiowas holding her captive, Lorena Wood (Diane Lane) gradually begins falling in love with Gus, even while he's heading off in search of his former love Clara (Anjelica Huston). Their moments together are insightful and tender, as she's still recovering from capture by Blue Duck's band, sustaining vicious beatings and presumably rape by her captors.
The seminal moment in this story occurs when a military detachment tries to conscript Dish Boggett's (D.B. Sweeney) horse, and Newt (Ricky Schroder) tries to intervene on his friend's behalf. Seeing what's happening, Woodrow Call comes close to beating Army scout Dixon to death before getting hauled off by Gus. It took this event for Gus to reveal to Newt that Call was his father, a fact that's not thoroughly absorbed by the young man just yet.
The side story of July Johnson and the baby left behind by his wife with Clara Allen is dealt with here as well. Despairing of his loss, Johnson decides to stay behind as a ranch hand, as does Lorena at the invitation of Clara. It's a bittersweet departure for Gus, leaving behind the two women he loves, each in their own way. Bittersweet for the both of them as well, left to contemplate on the way things might have been in another time and place.