Monday December 25 8:00 PM / 7:00c
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Trials of the Heart

Back in Hamilton, Elizabeth and her sisters are shopping for new gowns while Jack and his brother are chatting in the saloon. Jack’s brother reveals that he’s had a few run-ins with the law and even landed in jail. As they talk another man confronts the younger Thornton about an unpaid debt. The confrontation escalates and soon, the two brothers are tossed into the street and at the feet of the Thatcher sisters, who were enjoying their shopping trip.  An embarrassed Jack introduces Tom to the ladies. Julie in particular is quite taken by the younger Thornton. Jack tells Elizabeth he’s looking forward to the evening dinner party and the ladies excuse themselves.

Later that evening at the Thatcher mansion the guests have all gathered for the dinner party. While Jack is clearly doing his best, it’s clear that he is not of their ilk. Unfortunately for Jack, the highlight of the evening is the witty banter from Elizabeth’s outspoken aunt Agatha. It also become blatantly obvious that Charles is the Thatcher family’s preferred suitor for Elizabeth. As the guests move to the parlor Elizabeth and Charles favor everyone with a piano duet. Jack looks on as William Thatcher approaches him. Despite his attempts to assure Mr. Thatcher that he and Elizabeth’s feelings are genuine, Mr. Thatcher makes it perfectly clear that Charles, not Jack, is the one he intends Elizabeth to marry.

 
As the evening comes to an end, Elizabeth tells Charles she will likely be heading back to Coal Valley in a few days. William interrupts her and says she won’t be leaving until her mother is well again. Jack then approaches and thanks Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher for the evening. He then says he will be returning to Coal Valley in the morning. The news comes as a shock to Elizabeth. It’s clear that Mr. Thatcher’s message has been received and Jack intends to back off.