Thirteen years have passed in the town of Henning, Tennessee and now in 1896, the town has taken advantage of a burgeoning new industrial age thanks to the expansion of the railroad. Returning home from Kansas City after a decade away teaching, Elizabeth Harvey reunites with her younger sister Cynthia, now grown up, and reconciles with her father. Cynthia has taken an interest in a local railroad gang worker named Will Palmer who returns her affections. But in order to court her properly and gain the approval of her father Tom, Will leaves the railroad and finds a better job at a lumber mill, eventually taking Cynthia to be his wife. His hard work, dedication, loyalty, and financial acumen leads to his surprise promotion to owner and operator of the mill, although it is now saddled with debt. Despite this, he and Cynthia give Tom and Irene their first grandchild. Meanwhile Colonel Warner's son Andy decides to get involved in politics by running against his father to institute a new Democratic Party that plans to disenfranchise blacks of the vote and ensure victory against the Republicans. And now thanks to new restrictive voting laws in the state of Tennessee, Tom is denied the opportunity to vote for the first time since the end of the Civil War.moreless
Beth Chadwick is tired of her brother Bryce running her life. The last straw is when he threatens to break up her romance with Peter Hamilton, a company lawyer. Beth lays a trap for Bryce and shoots him, claiming that she thought he was a prowler. By stealing his house key, she plans for him to try to enter through her bedroom French doors. But when Bryce shows up after using a spare key, she is forced to improvise. The coroner's inquest backs up her story, but for Columbo, too many little things do not add up. If Bryce had to walk around the house to get to the doors, why are there no grass stains on his shoes? If Beth never went out the day of the murder, how did a late edition of the newspaper end up in the front hall? But when a witness remembers hearing gunshots before an alarm, Columbo figures it all out.moreless
Ernest Jackson--up for promotion to police lieutenant--feels that disclosure of his physical problem would ruin his chance for advancement. Welby, learning of Jackson's occupation, says he cannot allow the truth to be hidden since his condition may lead to the officer's inability to carry out his duty at a crucial moment.moreless
Friday and Gannon are working to recruit minority candidates from a community centered sponsored job development group. After running into some problems, they ask Afro-American Officer Dave Evans to help them, as many of the group members know and respect him.moreless
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