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Rick Harmond moves from his small hometown, where he worked on his father's ranch, to a bigger city for college. In his cowboy boots and hat, he immediately feels out of place but he refuses to let his reluctance get the better of him - he's been given the opportunity of a lifetime
He's been given a full-ride scholarship thanks to his affinity for math. One of the stipulations to receive the scholarship is that he join his college's Gamma Sigma Gamma fraternity chapter. They're not the kind of people he would usually be around, but he needs the scholarship - farming can't pay his tuition.
He endures the ribbing given by his fellow pledges and the frat brothers, and he also befriends a sorority sister, Rosanna, a popular cheerleader. Rick also meets Rosanna's roommate: Lorraine, whose double-leg amputation has confined her to a wheelchair.
Lorraine, a former cheerleader in high school, has become withdrawn, even standoffish, since her accident. And she has good reason to be defensive: Every day she gets looks of pity, looks of disgust, and hears people talking behind her back, thanking God they're not in her position.
Rick is intrigued by her and finds an opportunity to get to know her: He can help her with her algebra assignments, and she can help him with his English assignments. But soon word of his friendship with Lorraine gets back to the leaders of Gamma Sigma Gamma and a meeting is called: Rick, as well as his fellow pledges, are told they are not to associate with undesirable people because it reflects badly on Gamma Sigma Gamma.
Rick then finds himself in an impossible situation - he doesn't want to stop seeing Lorraine but the consequences set his world on fire. How can he remain Lorraine's friend but also afford to stay in college?