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Hearts in Question

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As an ominous wave of powerful storms rolls across the frontier, Hope Valley braces itself for the wedding of the season. True to form, Rosemary is pulling out all the stops to ensure her wedding is a truly grand affair.

As the storm rages outside, a mysterious rider appears in Hope Valley and heads directly to the jail. Inside, Jack is preparing for bed when hears the knock at the door. He opens the door and asks, “Can I help you?” Head down, the dark figure on the other side of the door responds, “I could use a hot cup of coffee.” The mysterious rider removes a hat, revealing the face of Jack’s mother, Charlotte.

It’s been years since Jack and his mother last saw each other and, as Jack gets dressed the next morning, Charlotte dotes over him like any proud mother. As Charlotte fidgets with a loose button on Jack’s jacket, Elizabeth walks in, confused by the strange woman standing with Jack. Jack introduces the two women and Elizabeth politely invites Jack and Charlotte for dinner that evening. The prospect of Elizabeth’s cooking concerns Jack and he asks if she’s sure she wants to cook for his mother. Charlotte offers to help but as Jack points out, she can’t cook either. Things start to get awkward and Jack is desperate for a way out. His reprieve comes when Elizabeth invites Charlotte to stay with her, instead of the cramped jailhouse. Charlotte is thrilled with the idea and heads off to grab her bags.

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Back in the saloon, Henry and Nora talk for the first time since Henry’s ultimatum that Nora choose sides between himself and Bill. After some consideration Henry realized his error and apologizes for asking Nora to choose between the two men. Nora accepts his apology and suggests that perhaps its time that she and Henry get a fresh start. They both have unhappy memories associated with Hope Valley and starting over somewhere else may just do them both a world of good.

Later in the evening, Charlotte and Elizabeth get to know each other while preparing dinner. Besides Jack, the two have almost nothing in common. Charlotte’s never known the comfort and privilege that were the hallmarks of Elizabeth’s upbringing. But they are both sadly equal footing in the kitchen. Charlotte suggests that Elizabeth’s Shepherd’s Pie could use a healthy dose of pepper and of her special ingredient, lard! Charlotte’s personal touches made the meal so ‘filling’ Jack barely eats more than a mouthful. Hoping to draw attention away from the meal, Jack suggests that Charlotte join him and Elizabeth when they head to the settlement in the morning. Aside from delivering supplies, Elizabeth is working to set up a school for the children living in the settlement. Charlotte was also a teacher and Elizabeth is eager for her to see her work on the new school. While it’s been years since she was in a classroom Charlotte is glad to tag along.


The next day Lee and Rosemary meet with Frank Hogan for some pre-marital counseling. If it were up to Lee they would get married on the spot but Rosemary is insistent on a big wedding. There is however one slight problem. With the mill back up and running, Lee forgot to build the gazebo Rosemary envisioned for the ceremony. The news is not what Rosemary wanted to hear, but pastor Hogan explains that being open and communicating is they key to a happy marriage. Lee and Rosemary both agree and tell Frank that despite the mix-up with the gazebo, they agree on everything and want the same things out of life, except when it comes to children. While Lee wants a big family, Rosemary has no intention of having kids. It seems that with all the wedding plans, Lee and Rosemary never discussed their plans for a family.

At the settlement, while Jack delivers, he takes a moment to check in on Edith. She’s concerned that the rains could wash out the road to the mine where her husband is working. Jack tells her that Ned Yost sent a wagon full of supplies so that if the road were washed out, the men will have enough provisions. Nearby, Elizabeth tries to convince a group of skeptical mothers to enroll their children in the new school. The mothers argue that the children have too many chores to waste time sitting through lessons. And they are certainly not willing to listen to someone who knows nothing about their way of life. Hoping to help, Charlotte steps in and explains that while she grew up poor, the best thing she ever did was to learn to read and write. The women appreciate the gesture, but are still not convinced that Elizabeth can relate to their situation. Jack then steps in and speaks up for Elizabeth. He explains that despite her privileged background, Elizabeth has done wonders for the children of Hope Valley and that if she’s willing to help their children, the mothers should consider themselves lucky.

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While the settlement mothers talk with Charlotte and Jack, Elizabeth, along with two of her students, gather the children and read to them. While the mothers are still unsure about having a school, they are fine with the children listening to the story before starting their chores. When they finish the story the children ask if they can hear another. Elizabeth doesn’t have another book with her so one of her students suggests they all come and visit Hope Valley. The children love the idea and immediately ask if they can take the trip. Still uncertain, the mothers agree to talk it over.

Back at the saloon, Mr. Jenkins enters and spots Gowen sitting at the table.
Jenkins excitedly approaches Gowen about some men who just left the bank. The men are government auditors and they are investigating allegations of misused funds. Jenkins explained to the investigators that all allocations go through Gowen’s office, but the men insisted on seizing all the banks records. Gowen tells him that he’s done the right thing by telling him and he will handle the situation on his own.

In a pasture near town, Abigail and Pastor Hogan enjoy a leisurely walk. They’ve been apart for some time while Pastor Hogan testified in the Garrison trial and Abigail visited Becky. The time apart has given them both the space to realize how much they mean to each other. Abigail mentions that earlier, Florence asked if she and Pastor Hogan were officially courting. Frank asks her what she said and she responds by asking him what he would have said. He then turns to her and says, “I guess I would have told her the truth. I would have said yes.” Abigail smiles and tells him she said the same thing. Now that it’s official, Frank asks Abigail to join him for dinner at the saloon the next evening. Unfortunately that is also spaghetti night; Cody’s favorite meal of the week and he and Abigail play games afterwards. Abigail then asks if he would like to join them. Frank smiles and tells her that he thought she’d never ask.

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Later that night, the ladies have all gathered for Rosemary’s bridal shower. As they exchange gifts, Abigail notices that Charlotte isn’t there. Elizabeth explains that Charlotte was exhausted after their long day at the settlement and decided to get some rest. With her not at the party, the conversation turns to Ms. Thorton’s unique personality. Elizabeth does her best to be polite despite and explain away Charlotte’s peculiarities. She quickly runs out of pleasantries and decides quickly excuses herself and fetches more refreshments for the party.

Rosemary quickly follows Elizabeth as she makes her hasty exit into the kitchen. Alone together, Elizabeth remarks that Rosemary’s not been her usual bubbly self. It’s then that Rosemary reveals that she’s deeply concerned about her and Lee’s differences about children. Elizabeth tells her that the love between her and Lee will find the answer together and that the journey will bring them closer together. Elizabeth then reveals that she is concerned about her relationship with Charlotte. Rosemary tells Elizabeth that God broke the mold when he made Charlotte and the no one has anything in common with her. They both laugh and agree that Charlotte is a very “unique” woman.

Across town at the saloon, the men are all gathered for Lee’s bachelor party. After raising their glasses for the toast, they all sit down to play a friendly game of poker. As Bill is about to deal the cards, Charlotte enters and asks if they have room for another player. Hoping for a more lively evening, Charlotte ditched the ladies and the bridal party. Bill, who worked with her late husband, tells Charlotte that her husband always had very fond things to say about her. Charlotte responds, “From what my husband told me about your poker game, I stand to do quite well this evening.” The men laugh and everyone sites down to start the game.

The next morning, as Jack and Dottie Ramsey walk together, Jack reveals that the bank has hired him to investigate the possible misuse of funds by Mayor Gowen. Dottie is sure that it’s all just a big misunderstanding. Bill doesn’t dispute her claims, in part because he needs Dottie’s help in acquiring the mayor’s private ledgers. Dottie is aghast at the implication that Bill wants her to steal. Bill assures her that he would never as ask her to do such a thing, but he does want to know if she knows about any of Gowen’s suspicious activities. Dottie takes a moment before asking if Bill ever noticed the barrel outside the mayor’s office. Dottie suggests that the completely innocuous barrel may contain something that might be of use to someone who investigating the mayor.

At the schoolhouse, the children from the settlement are playing with the Hope Valley children. Hoping to convince the mothers of her sincerity, Elizabeth sent a wagon to bring children and mothers to Hope Valley. The mothers are appreciative of the gesture and admit that the children have asked to visit ever since Elizabeth read them the story. Seeing her chance, Elizabeth offers to come to the settlement once a week, along with some of her students, to give lessons to the children. She promises that the lessons won’t take too much time from the chores. Seeing their children getting along so well, the mothers agree.

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In town, Nora anxiously talks to Henry about their plan to move. Henry’s decided that they should leave together immediately. Henry tells her that he thought about what she said about getting a new start. He’s decided that the bad blood between he and Bill and their bad memories of the town are enough reason to leave immediately.

At Lee’s office the wedding gifts are filling every corner of the room. Rosemary is thrilled over the outpouring but she is still upset that her best friend Penelope can’t attend the ceremony. Unfortunately Penelope decided that giving birth was more important than attending her wedding. Just then Lee remembers that Penelope sent a telegram. The Telegram reads:

"Dear Rosemary. George and I wish we could be there to celebrate your special day. I thought you would like to know we had a little girl. We wanted her name to reflect beauty, kindness, and grace. So we named her Rosemary Calloway."

Reading that her best friend named her daughter after her brings a well of emotions in Rosemary. Through tears of joy she tells Lee that the telegram is the best gift of all.

As the sun goes down and Hope Valley prepares for bed, Charlotte enters the jail. The sleepy town doesn’t have much to offer in the way of nightlife so Charlotte’s decided to take the opportunity to spend the evening catching up with her son. As they sit to talk Jack asks her directly what she thinks of Elizabeth. At first Charlotte dodges the question before asking Jack what’s really going on between him and Elizabeth. They’ve been dating for some time now and in Charlotte’s mind, it’s time for Jack to decide if she’s the one. Jack admits that things haven’t always been easy between them. Charlotte says they should be, but Jack reminds her that they both know life isn’t always easy. Without answering his question, Charlotte tells Jack that she just wants him to be happy.

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The next day, outside town, Jack escorts Elizabeth to the beautiful tract of land owned by Mr. Besser. Elizabeth is awestruck by the beauty and even more shocked when Jack tells her that he’s bought the land. He says he plans to build his dream home atop the ridge overlooking the valley. Elizabeth slyly tells him that he’ll need his blankie. Earlier Charlotte told Elizabeth that as a child, Jack wouldn’t go to bed without his blankie to keep him warm. While embarrassed that his mother told the story, Jack smiles as he tells Elizabeth that he’ll have to find something else to keep him warm at night. Understanding his implication, Elizabeth smiles as they turn to each other and kiss.

Back in town, Dottie bursts into Bill’s office exclaiming, “They’re gone!” Bill asks who she means, and Dottie reveals that Mayor Gowen and Nora have left town. Nora left a note saying, “I’m sorry but Henry said there’s no time for goodbyes.” The previous night, Jack searched the barrel outside the mayor’s office. Inside he found a small parcel containing the key to the mayor’s office. It now appears that Gowen could see the writing on the wall and decided to flee. Jack suspects Gowen and Nora fled via the South road and he grabs his gear to head off in pursuit.

At the mine outside of town, the rain has turned into a driving torrent. As the miners haul the last load of the day to the surface they are relieved that the workday has finally come to an end. But, as they pull the last load to the surface, the walls around them begin to liquefy and the mine’s braces begin to buckle. Roy looks around before saying the men need to get out. Just then a man shouts out, “It’s a landslide.” The men try to flee as water and mud begins to pour in around them.

Later that evening, the car carrying Henry and Nora barrels down the rain soaked South road. The conditions are so treacherous that Nora suggests to Henry that perhaps they should turn back. Henry refuses and is determined that they not stop until they reach Union City. He tells her that no one appreciates what he’s done or what he goes through every day. Just then Nora’s eyes widen as she sees an object in the road. She shouts for Henry to watch out but it’s already too late. Nora screams aloud as the car veers off the road, sending the two of them careening into a ravine.