Episode 9: Change of Heart
It's late afternoon in Coal Valley and Elizabeth has just dismissed her class for the day. As the students filter out of their classroom, Jack Thornton wanders in to speak with Elizabeth. Having finally come to grips with his feelings towards her, Jack makes his first true romantic gesture towards Elizabeth. Hoping to make up for his last attempt at a date, Jack invites Elizabeth to dinner. With some help, Jack plans a romantic candlelit meal for two in Abigail's cafe. Little do Jack or Elizabeth realize that the arrival of a stagecoach will usher in surprises that could upend the lives of everyone in Coal Valley.
The first surprise to exit the stagecoach is another Mountie, Constable Patrick O'Reilly. Jack immediately greets the constable and puzzled, asks him, "Where's your horse?" As Constable O'Reilly replies, "She wanted to make a grand entrance," a young aristocratic woman comes galloping along. Elizabeth screams out load as she suddenly recognizes her sister Julie. The two women embrace, but from the moment she dismounts her horse, it's clear that Julie is completely consumed with the fairytale romance between her sister and Jack.
In the meantime, Jack helps Julie's personal escort, Constable O'Reilly, get settled into his quarters. Constable O'Reilly, a man of high rank and experience, has spent the last 15 years chasing outlaws on the frontier. Curiosity piqued, Jack asks O'Reilly why a man of such stature would bother with a simple escort assignment. O'Reilly explains that having recently gotten married and now expecting his first child, his priorities have changed and he's decided to settle down. What Jack hadn't expected is that his months old request for a transfer has been accepted and O'Reilly is in Coal Valley to replace him. Jack is now confronted with the difficult decision of following his dreams or following his heart. And while a future with Elizabeth seems within his grasp, a refusal of his transfer could mean the end of his career as a Mountie.