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Early one morning in Signal, Wyoming, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist meet while lining up for employment with local rancher Joe Aguirre. The world which Ennis and Jack have been born into is, at once, changing rapidly and yet scarcely evolving. Both young men seem certain of their set places in the heartland--obtaining steady work, marrying, and raising a family--and yet they hunger for something beyond what they can articulate. When Aguirre dispatches them to work as sheepherders up on the majestic Brokeback Mountain, they gravitate towards camaraderie and then a deeper intimacy. At summer's end, the two must come down from Brokeback and part ways. Remaining in Wyoming, Ennis weds his sweetheart Alma, with whom he will have two daughters as he ekes out a living. Jack, in Texas, catches the eye of rodeo queen Lureen Newsome. Their courtship and marriage result in a son, as well as jobs in her father's business. Four years pass.