A young couple, Toby Wheeler and Belinda Ballard, are having a secret meeting when The Virginian rides by scaring them. Belinda is a member of the New Life commune but Toby is an outsider. Later, at his dad's house against the wishes of his father Seth, Toby tells The Virginian that the New Life commune is the only place in the area running cattle. The Virginian goes to the communal village of New Life, looking for a number of Shiloh cattle that have strayed. At the commune council meeting, the members agree to let him take his cattle back. After the Virginian leaves, however, the council makes another vote---to start "complex" or group marriage in the community, meaning that every woman will be considered married to every man. Given an unreasonably short time by the acting leader, August Gruber, to round up his cattle, the Virginian appeals to the widow of the commune's original leader for help, but when he learns of the new marriage rule he decides to help her and her daughter ...