Tanner was the younger brother of Brian and son of Vern Scofield, a rebellious youth who was at odds with his father and brother over his mother's suicide. Tanner was employed as a bar tender at Wings, but soon became an amateur private detective. Tanner befriended Molly Brinker, who worked with him at Wings. Molly was searching for her mother and Tanner decided to help her. However, Molly didn't have much to go from, the best clue she had was a torn up wedding photo. Tanner did some checking and eventually discovered that Ginger Dawson, a waitress at the Cheatin Heart, was Molly's mother. However, Ginger told Tanner that they couldn't let Molly know the truth because the Hawkins gang was in town. Ginger then told Tanner her story.
Ginger, whose real name was Genevieve, had married Rusty Hawkins against the wishes of her father. Ginger and her husband had one child, Molly, but Ginger's husband died unexpectedly. Molly was set to inherit the Hawkins' fortune, but Ginger's husband's father, Alston Hawkins, her husband's son from a previous relationship, Hawk, to inherit the fortune. However, Molly stood in the way. Alston threatened Ginger and Molly's lives, so Ginger went on the run. Ginger took Molly back to her father's cabin in the mountains because she knew Molly would be safe there. However, when Ginger tried to reclaim Molly, her father wouldn't let her have the child back and he chased Ginger away. Ginger knew that Alston Hawkins and his grandson Hawk were in town and if they discovered that Molly was her daughter, the Hawkins may cause harm to Molly because they'd be forced to give her the family fortune. Alston and his grandson Hawk were con artists who traveled from town to town milking people of their money and they wouldn't allow Molly to inherit the fortune they had collected over the years. Both Ginger and Tanner decided that it was best that Molly didn't know the truth, for now.
Once the Hawkins gang was safely out of Salem, Ginger and Molly were reunited. Molly began going to school at Salem University, but was having problems with a male professor there. Molly was being sexually harassed by a Professor Gavin. Molly told this to Tanner, who recognized the name as being a professor his mother worked for a long time ago. Tanner went to Brian and his father Vern and demanded to know what happened to his mother. Brian and Vern told Tanner that Mrs. Scofield had been raped and committed suicide. Tanner put two and two together and figured out that it was Professor Gavin who raped his mother. Ginger and Tanner forced a confession out of Gavin, who was convicted and sent to jail. Molly and Tanner hooked up romantically and headed for Chicago with Molly's mom Ginger and her new boyfriend, Brian Scofield.