Episode 8: Perils of the Soloists
It's time for Coal Valley to welcome back the sole survivor of the mine explosion, Adam Miller. Adam's months of recovery in the hospital have been especially difficult for his wife and two daughters, who are eager to welcome him home. However, their excitement is tempered when they discover that Adam lost his leg as a result of the mine accident. Adam's appearance sends shockwaves through his family and the town.
Meanwhile Elizabeth learns that one of her duties, as Coal Valley's teacher, is to direct the children in the annual Founder's Day Play. Having no experience with theatre Elizabeth is understandably nervous. Her angst only increases when she learns that the backdrop and all the costumes were destroyed in the church fire. And making matters worse is the presence of the Mayor's wife, Dottie, who insists that Elizabeth produce the spirited tribute to Coal Valley’s founders that the town is anticipating. For Abigail, nerves mix with sadness as she moves out of her row house and into the rooms above the café. During the move, Elizabeth accidentally knocks a vase to the ground, shattering it to pieces. Obviously upset, Abigail explains that the vase "was held together with glue," but that hearing it break reminded her of her son breaking the same vase while playing ball in the house. As the memories wash over her Abigail becomes more resolved to leap forward into her new life. The two women grab the glue, repair the vase, and take it with them as they move to the café.
As a result of the amputation Adam develops deep-seated feelings of frustration and embarrassment. Unable to face working at the mine and confronting fears that he cannot provide for his family, Adam's frustration turns to bitterness. Given a peg leg instead of a prosthetic only compounds his feelings and increases the distance between he and his family. When his wife and daughters present him with new prosthetic leg, he lashes out, furious at the prospect of being a "charity case." The fear and frustrations finally reach a breaking point and, believing his family and the town are better off without him, Adam abandons them all and flees Coal Valley. With Adam on the run it's up to Jack to ride into the wilderness and find him.