The Garvey's sit around the dinner table giving thanks for the abundance of crop the lord has blessed them. Unbeknownst to them embers from a fire get blown into their barn and by the time the Garvey's realize it Jonathan only has time to get his animals out.
Jonathan looks for work in town, but work at the mill won't come in for another three or four months. At home tensions quickly arise between Jonathan and Alice. Jonathan refuses to borrow seed from anyone, deeming it charity. All suggestions made by Alice are quickly rebuffed. Charles offers Jonathan work helping him bring his corn to Mankato, but Jonathan refuses saying it only takes one man to drive a wagon.
Alice finds a job at the post office, but instead of being happy Jonathan tells her she cannot take the job. He doesn't want his wife to support the family. Caroline and Laura drop off supplies to the Garvey's. While they are visiting, Jonathan comes in with supplies for the family including a new hat for his wife. When Alice asks how he got the money, Jonathan tells her that he sold the team of horses. A fight ensues and Alice insists that she could work at the post office for money and that the horses were the surest way for them to recover from the fire. Now that they are sold they don't have a way to farm. Jonathan refuses to let Alice take the job and storms out of the house. Against his wishes she takes the job and the tension between Jonathan and Alice leads to a separation and he decides to go to Mankato for good.
Alice discusses things with Caroline, who tries to convince her that being right doesn't mean it is worth the price of watching Jonathan leave her and their son, Andy. Alice decides to talk to Jonathan and stops Jonathan and Charles leave for Mankato. She says she still loves him and he admits that he loves her, but he won't stay unless Alice gives up her job. She refuses and he leaves with Charles.
While in Mankato Jonathan decides that he should try and clear some land so that it will be worth more for Alice. So he decides to go back to Walnut Grove with Charles. When he comes home he explains to Alice that he hasn't changed his mind, he just wants to clear the upper field to the disappointment of his son and Alice. She tells him that once the judge gets to Walnut Grove that everything is over between them forever.
At the Ingall's, Caroline fits Charles with a new shirt. Charles explains that this is the problem with having extra money, standing around to be fit is not his idea of a fun night. Caroline shows him material for another shirt and they playfully fight over the material of the shirt which causes Laura to become worried that her parents will get divorced like the Garvey's. Charles and Caroline reassure her that they were not having a real fight and that disagreements happen but it doesn't always lead to divorce.
While Jonathan clears the field he stops by house for water. While at the house Jonathan and Alice antagonize each other about what is man's work and women's work. Later Alice stops up at the field to let him know that the judge will be in the next day at noon.
In front of the judge the next day the Garvey's tell the judge there is not any dispute over land or money. The only thing that is up for discussion is the custody of Andy. Andy wants to live with Jonathan, but Alice will only agree if he stays in Walnut Grove. Andy tells his dad that he will help him with the house and visit his mom. He says even if they hate each other that doesn't mean he doesn't still love them. Jonathan tells him that he doesn't hate his mom. Jonathan tells him that his mom thinks he is a failure. They get into a fight over when Alice called him a failure, which ends up being a he said, she said argument where Jonathan thinks his wife says one thing when she actually didn't. Charles breaks out in laughter when he hears their ridiculous fight and soon they are all laughing. They end up not getting a divorce and invite the Ingallses over for dinner to celebrate.