Episode 5: The Dance
Original Airdate: Saturday, February 8th
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The clickety-clack of two horse drawn carriages signals the arrival of a new batch of miners in Coal Valley. But, as the new miners head to their bunks in the saloon, they find themselves in the middle of Elizabeth’s own makeshift classroom. A confrontation seems imminent until a young miner, Billy Hamilton, diffuses the situation and makes a not so subtle advance towards Elizabeth. Unlike the other miners, Billy is well spoken and professes a love for poetry. Billy’s interest in Elizabeth does not go unnoticed by Jack, who suspects that the smooth-talking Billy may not be all he claims to be.
Amongst the other women of Coal Valley the new miners are a reminder of the husbands they’ve lost. While some are skeptical about a group of bachelors settling into town, others are more welcoming and are looking forward to the welcoming the new residents at the upcoming Coal Valley festive saloon dance. Abigail reminds all the widows that life must go on, a point made even more evident by the impending arrival of a new baby by the very pregnant widow Carla Noonan. Carla’s situation is very precarious, and as the town is without a midwife, Abigail insists that Carla move in with her so she can keep an eye on her health.
Meanwhile, the miners are beginning to make themselves home in Coal Valley. As they adjust to their new surroundings, a few of them venture out and make new acquaintances. Among them is the mild mannered Dewitt Graves, who takes an immediate shine to widow Mary Dunbar. Mary is flattered by Dewitt’s interest in her and accepts his offer to join him for dinner and accompany him to the upcoming saloon dance. However Dewitt’s offer causes Mary’s son Caleb to act out and grieve for his late father.
Emotions also begin to run high when Jack stumbles upon Elizabeth and Billy taking a leisurely walk outside of town. Jack is clearly suspicious of Billy, but Elizabeth seems charmed, bordering on smitten. Jack attempts to dissuade Elizabeth from getting to close to Billy, but the strong willed Elizabeth has already agreed to escort Billy to the saloon dance.
On the night of the dance everyone arrives in their finest attire. Elizabeth’s students have decorated the saloon and everyone is appreciative of the opportunity for a celebration in Coal Valley. Caleb, who initially refused to attend, surprises his mother when arrives dressed in his late father's oversized suit. Meanwhile Jack, who is attending in his official capacity, keeps a watchful eye as everyone dances and mingles throughout the night. But, as everyone heads home to retire for the evening, Abigail discovers a prostrate Carla in the throes of labor. Jack also receives confirmation of his suspicions towards Billy when a telegram from the Central Union Mine Company proves that Bill is not who he says he is.