Sam Terhune arrives in Walnut Grove looking for work, and finds favor with all of the townsfolk - except for his ex-wife, Hester Sue.
After an acquaintance dies suddenly, Charles is prompted to give up farming in favor of building a legacy on his hand-crafted furniture.
Mary, Adam, Hester Sue, and the Wilders all make a special visit to Charles and Caroline's for Christmas Eve. An unrelenting blizzard prevents everyone from heading home after dinner, but they all pass time by recalling Christmases of personal significance in their lives.moreless
Harriet is pressed to transform the Walnut Grove restaurant into a chain called "Mrs. Sullivan's." Meanwhile, Charles is left to gather the slack at home with Caroline so in-demand as one of the cooks.moreless
When Doc Baker's workload becomes too much for one person, he requests a new graduate to help him. He gets more than he expected when the new arrival turns out to be black.moreless
Adam is officially a lawyer, but his client prospects are slim.
Former boxer Joe Kagan moves to Sleepy Eye to help with the maintenance of the blind school while Adam and Houston are out of town. Joe is still in love with Hester Sue, but she is being courted by another man.moreless
When Mary's pregnancy is announced, Caroline's parents arrange a visit to witness the birth of their great-grandchild. Unfortunately, when her mother dies en route, Caroline is left to deal with her father Frederick, whose world now feels empty and meaningless.moreless
Nels Oleson is humiliated when he sees his estranged sister Annabelle as "the fat lady" in a traveling circus that comes to Walnut Grove. Meanwhile, Laura is unhappy when Almanzo begins dating a rude young woman named Christy.moreless
Determined to make it through the winter season, a pair of men earn money by selling tainted meat to the Walnut Grove community. Several townspeople later become infected with anthrax, including Laura, Albert, Adam, Alice, and Nels. The victims are confined to the blind school, and with time running out to help them, Charles and Jonathan go out to retrieve some medicine.moreless
Adam's father arrives in town upon hearing from Mary that she and Adam are expecting their first child. The prospect of a new grandchild adds hope that Adam's strained relationship with his father might be restored.moreless
Billie gets upset when her story of the murder of an 'ordinary' African American mother gets buried on page 26 opposite the shipping news, while Rossi's upbeat feel-good story of an elderly white lady who beat up some attackers gets front page treatment.moreless