It's 1934, the depression at its height. Thirty-five year old John Wells is hand-some, wealthy, and widowed. Despite an intense and successful libido, he's sexually frustrated, never having experienced satisfying relations with a woman. He retires from his Boston law practice and heads west, hoping to find what he's been missing. His journey takes him to 'Adele', a small town in the foothills of the Rockies, where by chance he witnesses the Sheriff taking a paddle to the bare buttocks of a pair of teenage petty thieves. John is amazed at the height of his arousal. Memories of being intensely excited in his youth when he heard his half-sister being punished by their father make him wonder if punishing women, dominating them, was what his psyche required for sexual fulfillment. He soon encounters the rude and snippy Becky Jorgensen at Jorgensen's Lodge. Events lead to her going bare bottomed over his knee to receive a sound reddening from his hairbrush, and then to John's first fully satisfying sexual experiences. Knowing now what has been lacking in his life, he decides to settle down in Adele, acquiring a home, implements to punish, and women willing, in their lust, or their poverty, to accept sub-mission and pain.