Tragedy brought Marty Claridge (Katherine Heigl) and Clark Davis (Dale Midkiff) together on the harsh frontier of the 1800s. But their marriage of convenience has grown into deep mutual respect and love. Clark's daughter, Missie (January Jones), is now a young adult. Marty and Clark have two sons of their own - Aaron (K'Sun Ray) and Arnie (Logan Arens). Money is always tight on the farm, but the Davises are a happy and loving family who rely on their faith for strength.
Marty has a dream that Clark dies. He assures her that won't happen and tells her how much he loves her. Clark and Marty are hoping for a good crop year because if it's not, they are in danger of losing their farm.
Missie is the school teacher. She loves to read and eagerly teaches her students to love it as well. At school one day, Missie gives her lunch to a student who has nothing to eat. Famished, she leaves the classroom to scour a thicket of wild grape vines when she runs into a charming man named Grant Thomas (Mackenzie Astin), a surveyor for the new railroad that will be coming through town. Missie is mortified because her face is covered with grape juice. Grant thinks she's adorable. He brings her back to his tent where he has a spread of food laid out. She's impressed but needs to get back to her class. Grant follows her to the classroom where he sees that she's been locked out by one of her students. Embarrassed again, Missie manages to accept his proposal to have lunch the next Saturday. Later she tells her girlfriend Annie (Cara DeLizia) that she's met Prince Charming.
The next day Clark is chopping firewood with Aaron when he has an accident. The axe hits him in the leg and he's cut to the bone. Clark tries to guide Aaron on how to stop the flow of blood, but Aaron is too little and doesn't understand. Clark blacks out. Aaron is afraid he's died. Suddenly a man with a bearded face rides up and puts pressure around the wound to stop the bleeding and rushes Clark home. He assures Aaron that his father is going to be fine. The man rides Clark and Aaron home and leaves quickly before Marty or Missie can ask him who he is.
Doc Watkins (Robert F. Lyons) tends to Clark. He informs Marty that she must keep the wound clean to prevent infection. Clark must have bed rest for several weeks, which is terrible news as it's planting season.
Missie closes school for planting season and she and Marty decide to plow and seed the field themselves. It is back-breaking work. Missie's hands are bruised and blistered. Marty is exhausted from taking care of the kids, planting the crops and nursing Clark. Aaron is traumatized over what happened to Clark and feels a heavy desire to help his father. Missie is plowing the fields when she realizes that it's lunchtime - and Saturday. She's missed her appointment with Grant!
As Missie toils in the fields, the bearded stranger who rescued her father returns Clark's axe to her. The mystery man (Logan Bartholomew) introduces himself as "Nate." He looks familiar to Missie.
After plowing the field, Nate approaches the house with Missie and we learn that Clark's leg is badly infected. Nate tells them that it needs to be opened up again so it can drain. Missie says no at first, but Marty understands it has to be done. Nate convinces them that he's seen this kind of stuff before being a ranch hand and knows what to do. Otherwise, Clark might lose his leg or die. Missie takes the kids out to the barn and reads them a book while Marty helps Nate with Clark.
Grant goes to the school to find Missie but is disappointed to find it's closed. At the farm, Missie brings Nate water while he works the land. Then Marty arrives to tell them that Clark's fever has broken and he's hungry. So happy and thankful for Nate's help, Missie invites him for dinner. That evening the Davis family has a picnic in Clark's bedroom. The kids eat on a blanket on the floor with Nate while Clark eats in his bed. Everyone is overjoyed. Clark thanks Nate and hires him to help with the crop, promising to pay him after the harvest.
As Missie and Nate tend the fields together their relationship grows. She asks about his history but he doesn't tell her anything. On a Saturday, they go riding together. Nate finds a good piece of oak and takes it with him. He also tries to get honey from a beehive, but the bees chase them and they have to jump into the lake to get away from the swarm.
Missie and Nate arrive home, soaked to the skin, only to find Grant waiting. Missie can't believe she looks such a mess again! She explains that her father had an accident, so she wasn't able to meet him for lunch. He inquires if it would be okay to ask Clark, when he's feeling better, if they can date. Missie says yes. Nate, jealous, distances himself emotionally from Missie. He refuses dinner with the family, but hands Missie a nice cane he made for Clark out of the oak he found the day they spent together. Missie is touched.
Feeling better, Clark talks to Nate and thanks him for the cane. He's searching for some answers to Nate's history. Several days later, Clark goes for a walk in the woods and meets up with Zeke LaHaye (Cliff De Young), father of Willie LaHaye. Clark suspects that Nate is really Willie - Zeke's son who left town six years earlier after the tragic death of his little brother. Clark asks Zeke if he would want to talk to his son again. Zeke says yes, he has a lot to say to him.
Clark tells Nate that he knows he really is Willie LaHaye. He tells him that his father wants to see him. Willie admits he came home to set things straight but lost his courage. He's been living out in the woods since his arrival. When he was young, he was setting traps for his father and his little brother followed him. Willie got them lost and during the night his little brother died from exposure. Guilt ridden, he left home because he didn't know how to make things right.
Missie has a few wonderful dates with Grant. She has never seen such riches - the finest china, the most beautiful silver, the finest food. Grant, whose family owns the railroad company, is campaigning hard to win Missie over, and she finds herself falling for the wealthy young man. Marty speaks to her about being careful that she chooses a man she loves, not necessarily a man with money. She reminds her to be thankful for what she has.
After being reunited, Zeke and Willie end up having an argument one morning and Willie leaves the old man's house. Both are harboring a lot of resentment, hurt feelings and unresolved problems.
Missie has another elegant date with Grant. When he kisses her without her permission, she feels uncomfortable. He proclaims that he wants to marry her. Missie tells him she can't because she doesn't love him. She realizes it is Willie whom she really cares about.
Willie talks to Clark about what happened with his brother all those years ago. He remembers the night little Mattie (Dominic Scott Kay) died in his arms. Willie goes to Mattie's grave and tells him he's sorry. There isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't think about him. Willie is confused and decides to leaves town for awhile. Missie doesn't get a chance to say goodbye to him.
Several weeks later, Missie is teaching her class when she sees "Nate" approach. He's now clean shaven. He confesses he was little Willie LaHaye who used to put her braids in ink and steal her hair ribbons. She admits he did look familiar. He returns to her two blue ribbons he had stolen from her years ago. She thinks it's sweet. He tells her he has decided to go west and find some land so he can be a cattle farmer. She convinces him to stay until the harvest. Over the course of the next month, they begin to fall in love.
Willie leaves to find land. He promises Missie he will return when he is able to provide a home for her. Missie waits over a year for his return. The day he arrives, she is covered in mud from chasing baby pigs back into the pig pen!
Willie and Missie get married. Missie is a beautiful bride in her mother's wedding gown. The whole town attends the ceremony, including Zeke, which makes Willie happy. Not long after the wedding, Missie and Willie depart for their land out west. Missie says goodbye to her family and friends. As they ride their wagon out of town, Missie asks Willie to tell her about their land. Willie describes it as the most beautiful place in the world - vistas that rise out of nowhere; orange and red sunsets that make you ache with their beauty; and enough room for cows to roam and kids to play.
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