19-year-old Duke Kramer was shocked when a man named John Dixon came to his grandmother's house asking about his late mother. John stated that he'd just received a 19 year old later from Rosemary Kramer stating that she was pregnant with his child. Though Duke was skeptical at first, John convinced Duke to accompany him to Oakdale and live with him in the Walsh estate. Though John tried to make Duke feel comfortable, Lucinda, John's wife detested the scruffy newcomer and tried to find a way for him to leave. She came upon a plan to lure Duke's old lover, Julie, to Oakdale. Knowing that John would disapprove of the relationship, she thought she could drive a wedge between father and son. Though Julie succeeded in seducing Duke, he soon caught on to the plan and dumped her. Depressed, Julie began sleeping with Duke's younger brother, Andy. Though Duke disapproved, he couldn't convince Andy to stay away from her. Knowing that Andy's old girlfriend, Lien, was hurt by Andy and Julie's relationship, Duke starting spending time with her and the pair fell in love.
Soon, it became clear that Duke couldn't stay in town with John. Though he'd come to love and respect his father, John had a tendency of trying to make Duke into something he wasn't. While Duke tried to work at the hospital like John wanted him to, he didn't like it and missed the unconventional life he had before. When Lien left Oakdale for law school, Duke accompanied her, though at some point their relationship ended. In 1993, Duke returned to town to celebrate Bob and Kim Hughes' anniversary. While there, he touched base with Andy, John and Julie. He also told John that he was about to start residency at a hospital in Seattle) but wanted to visit Casey's gravesite before leaving. In June 1994, Duke briefly returned to town to attend Julie's wedding to Caleb Snyder.