That night, everyone wakes up to severe thunderstorms. Charles pretends to be unruffled, but after the rain comes, so does the hail. When he returns some time later, he announces the dreaded news to Caroline: the wheat's gone.
After returning the team to Mr. Hanson, Charles sets out to look for work. He meets a jovial Irishman named Jack Peters along the way, along with a man named Jacob. All are looking for work. Jack suggests that they're going to have trouble finding work with all the other farmers who were devastated by the hail and are competing. So Jack tells them about working with dynamite and drilling. "Risky business," he calls it, but informs them it pays well. Meanwhile, back at home Caroline considers what can be done about the damaged wheat harvest.
Charles and Jacob are introduced by Jack to the foreman, and they're awarded a job after proving themselves hammering a stake into the rock.
Back in Walnut Grove, Caroline rallies the women to glean what's left in the fields. Although there's a naysayer among them, the women work diligently after the model of Ruth that Caroline sets before them.
The work blasting is dangerous and back-breaking and the men reminisce about their homes and families. There is a contest for the fastest team, and Charles and Jacob win it and the fifty dollar prize. As they're celebrating, Jack congratulates them and then steps in the wrong place on a rock and is blown to bits.
Charles and Jacob return home, where Jacob learns he is the proud father of a baby boy who was born while he was away. Charles must give Jack's belongings and pay to his widow and son, and he offers to have them visit any time.
It's a joyous reunion indeed when Charles arrives back at the little homestead at Plum Creek and sweeps up Caroline and his girls.