I am disheartened that other reviewers marked this episode as inferior to the episodes prior. To me, it's the first truly great episode of the first season, revealing that the show is beginning to hit its stride.
The Shelly/Holling story arc in this episode is really what does it for me. Both characters are given great moments to shine, first with Shelly's confrontation in the bar and then with Holling's confrontation at the wedding. Equally compelling is the sequence with Maurice where he tries to convince Shelly to come back to him.
Few shows have balanced out the supporting cast as effectively as Northern Exposure did, and it's nice to see so much attention paid to the love triangle that makes these characters so dynamic.