Marshall Travers came to Oakdale at James Stenbeck's request to act as Barbara Ryan's attorney after she'd been charged with conspiracy to kidnapping. A slick attorney out to win his case, Marshall painted Barbara as a victim of circumstance who had been abandoned by her friends in her hour of need. Knowing that Barbara wouldn't be found innocent based on sympathy alone, he convinced the judge to declare a mistrial because District Attorney, Jessica Griffin was a friend of Barbara's.
Though she hated Marshall for his courtroom antics and political ploys, Jessica found herself attracted to him and the two had an affair. About this time, Barbara's son, Paul, became convinced that Marshall knew the whereabouts of James Stenbeck, his criminal father. Eager to prove it, Paul told Jessica he'd tell her boyfriend, Ben, about her affair with Marshall unless she helped find out where Stenbeck was. At this time, Jessica and Marshall were both campaigning for District Attorney and when she learned that her daughter, Bonnie, and Paul bugged Marshall's room, she conceded the election. Now District Attorney, Marshall dropped all charges against Stenbeck and told Ben about his affair with Jessica himself.
About this time, a young woman named Brandy was murdered and Marshall prosecuted Paul for the crime. Unknown to everyone, James was blackmailing Marshall with the whereabouts of the teenage daughter (a product of a college affair) that he never met. Though he knew Paul was innocent, Marshall complied with James's demands. An attack of conscience however forced him to admit that James was the true murderer and he was blackmailing Marshall by withholding the whereabouts of his teenage daughter. In retaliation James shot Marshall in the head, though luckily Ben saved him. Unfortunately, the operation didn't go smoothly and Ben almost killed Marshall by accidentally nicking an artery. Though Jess came to Ben's defense, she made a deal with Marshall to help find his daughter if he dropped the lawsuit against Ben. Deeply attracted to Jessica, and knowing she was attracted to him, Marshall agreed. Unfortunately, he was devastated to learn that his daughter was dead. Soon after, Marshall was placed under arrest for conspiring with James Stenbeck and placed in Jessica's custody.
Content with Jessica, everything changed one morning when Jessica kicked him out after a passionate night of lovemaking. Confused by Jessica's distance, he was shocked when she claimed that he forced himself on her the night before. Though he tried to explain to Jess that his seduction was consensual, a regretful Jessica disagreed and she filed charges against him. Although an unrepentant Marshall pleaded with her to drop the case and threatened to use an old videotape of them making love to embarrass her, Jess refused to back down and went on with the charges. Realizing that Marshall truly did not see what he'd done to her, Jess cornered him in court and forced him to finally see that he had indeed raped her. Marshall's acknowledgment of guilt was enough to vindicate Jess, and knowing that he did not intentionally mean to do it, she dropped the charges. Later that summer, after feeling as if he were being stalked and harassed by Bonnie and her young charge, orphan Sarah Smith, Marshall discovered a startling fact--Sarah was his daughter, Zara!
Shocked, Marshall decided to let the girl into his life and warned Bonnie to stay away or he'd tell the police about the shooting. Unfortunately, Sarah herself sought out Bonnie about her troubles adjusting to her new life. Knowing that Sarah was on the verge of discovering what Marshall did to Jessica, Bonnie convinced him to tell Sarah about the rape. Unfortunately for Bonnie, instead of Sarah lashing out at Marshall, she lashed out at Bonnie for keeping the truth from her! Marshall's undoing came when he finally realized that Sarah needed Bonnie and he asked Bonnie for help. Concerned about Bonnie's obsession with Sarah and afraid of her getting close to Marshall, Jessica threatened to reopen the rape case against Marshall if he didn't take Sarah and leave town for good. Unfortunately, Bonnie learned what Jessica had done and raced to Marshall's to stop him from taking Sarah away. Knowing that Jessica would make good on her threat, Marshall argued with Bonnie and told her he was leaving with Sarah. Unfortunately, Bonnie struggled with Marshall and in the melee he was pushed out the window and fell to his death.