Everyone has at least one weakness. Mitch Wilderís is women. He has always been fussed over, coddled and protected by them. As a teenager he was the star football quarterback, always surrounded by girls, as he used his good looks and popularity to his advantage. By thirty-nine years of age, he hasnít slowed down. Mitch still sneaks from bedroom to bedroom.
When his father dies in 1967 Mitchís world starts to fray at the seams. His fatherís will states that Mitch has inherited the shipping company, which Mitch has been running for eight years, ever since his father retired. But up until then the company had remained in his fatherís name. While the inheritance isnít a surprise, the stipulation that Mitch must hire his stepbrother, Tom Fleming, is. On top of this, Tom will own half the company within five years. If this doesnít happen the company will be sold and the proceeds will go to charity. Mitch sees no choice but to hire his brother.
Other than the fact that Mitch hates Tom, he has also discovered that Tom had an affair with the woman Mitch loves, Claire Lester. He comes up with a plan: to convince Claire to marry him and keep her away from Tom.
Initially, Tom Flemingís motivation for the affair had been vengeful: he only went after Claire to get back at Mitch. He despises his brother as much as Mitch despises him. When Tom moves to Port Shetland to work for his brother, he pretends to chase after Claire.
Claire, however, desperately wants to believe that Mitch has finally settled down. After months of Mitchís relentless pursuit, Claire marries him. The marriage doesnít go smoothly. Due to his condition, Mitch is unable to remain faithful to Claire. She catches him with one of his other women and leaves him. As she realizes that she has once again fallen for Mitchís lies, Claire is so disgusted with her own weakness that she runs back to Tom. Although Tom lets Claire move in with him, this relationship is also destined to fail. For reasons that Tom keeps hidden, he isnít able to love Claire.