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The Heart of the Community

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Season 4 - Episode 4

It is a new day in Hope Valley and Abigail begins to question the decision she made about rejecting the Pacific Railroad contract. She meets with Ray and tells him she is willing to compromise on the deal, selling him the vacant property north of town at half price. He tells Abigail she drives a hard bargain, but agrees to the purchase under one condition… the railroad must not pay any taxes on the purchased property.

As the railroad starts construction, Hope Valley starts seeing new faces move in and Elizabeth gets new students filling her classroom. One of those new faces is a single father, Shane Cantrell, who walks his son Phillip into the class to meet Elizabeth. Elizabeth introduces her new student to Opal as his reading partner and the two form a friendship.

Back at the cafe, Rosemary is adjusting to doing actual work, like serving food and washing dishes. While at work, she catches Bill and Dottie in an intimate conversation and is immediately intrigued. When Bill leaves, Rosemary starts pressing Dottie for details. After swearing her to secrecy, Dottie reveals she is going to open a dress shop in town.

Back at the railroad construction site, Lee gets bad news that his men are falling behind from their intended schedule, which means they will have to start working overtime. This results in more men being treated for injuries by Faith at the infirmary.

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After school, Elizabeth walks Phillip home, stopping to pick up groceries first. Once they arrive at Phillip’s home, she finds a disgruntled Shane, who tells Elizabeth that his son can walk home alone. She tells Shane that she didn’t mind, in fact, she would love to have the father and son over for dinner to officially welcome them to town.

Jack alerts Bill that the Tate brothers have broken out of prison up north and are expecting to head to Hope Valley for a quick heist. Ray is curious on why he thinks the escaped prisoners would be heading to town. Bill informs him that Curtis and Glen Tate make a living robbing payrolls, and Ray has one coming in for the railroad construction workers the day after tomorrow. Jack assures Ray they will put extra security on the payroll delivery as it makes its way to Hope Valley.

Elizabeth later dines at the cafe, where she confides in Rosemary her worry that the school is short on supplies because of all the new students. Rosemary hatches a plan to host a fundraiser. Elizabeth loves the idea and comes up with the thought of a carnival. The brainstorming comes to an end when Abigail interrupts and asks Rosemary why she isn’t washing dishes in the kitchen.

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At the restaurant, Rosemary offers Dottie her dress sketches for the new shop. Dottie gives her criticism and Rosemary agrees to come back with new sketches, despite Dottie never asking in the first place. Things go from bad to worse for Rosemary when the customers start to complain to Abigail about Rosemary’s service. Both Rosemary and Abigail agree that Rosemary isn’t cut out for washing dishes and Elizabeth sets her free from the job.

Jack, Bill and Frank agree to leave at dawn to ride along the stagecoach, as the railroad’s payroll makes its way to Hope Valley. Later that evening, Jack informs Elizabeth of the plan and promises her that he will be safe. He assures her that there isn’t even any proof they will encounter the Tate brothers while on this journey. What Jack doesn’t know is the Tate Brothers are planning an ambush along the route with a hired sharp shooter who promises he never misses his mark.

Faith tells Elizabeth how worried she is about the long hours the men at the sawmill are working and together they confront Ray. Elizabeth pleads with Ray to extend the delivery deadline, so the workers can get more rest and family time. Ray tells her he can’t move up the deadline, but when Faith asks, Ray reluctantly agrees to move the schedule one extra day.

As Jack and Bill make their way tracking the payroll, Frank goes ahead of them to see if he can spot any trouble. Just as the sharp shooter sets his sights on Jack and Bill, Frank sets his sights on him and grabs the gun, discharging it in the air. The Tate brothers hear the single gunshot from a distance and decide to avoid trouble by feeling the scene.

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Back in Hope Valley, word travels fast about what a hero Frank is. Ray offers the pastor some extra money and Frank politely declines, saying he was only doing what was right. Elizabeth is relieved that Jack is safe and sound, while Abigail feels betrayed that Frank never told her he was on such a dangerous mission chasing outlaws. She accuses him of not communicating, and Frank fires back that maybe they should call it quits. She storms off in anger.

Later that night, Jack and Elizabeth make signs together for the fundraiser carnival coming up for the school. Meanwhile, at the sawmill campsite, Shane tells his son that despite all the men being given an evening off from the mill for the event, he is going to still work for extra money. A disappointed Phillip tells his dad he understands and that he wasn’t really looking forward to the carnival anyway.

It is the day of the carnival and everybody is having fun. Cody and Robert are in charge of the bake sale, while Jack has set up a photo booth. Rosemary even has a fortune teller booth, where she dresses up in character. Ray finds Faith at the kissing booth, where she is selling raffle tickets. Ray buys all the tickets, only to be disappointed that it doesn’t result in an actual kiss from Faith.

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As the carnival fun continues, Elizabeth finds a sad Phillip, who tells her his father is working and had to miss the carnival. Elizabeth tries to cheer him student up by offering to be his three-legged race partner. In the end, Phillip and Elizabeth win the race and a surprise cheerleader is in the audience: Phillip’s dad, Shane!

Ray gets some alone time with Abigail and asks if she has agreed to his offer about the railroad not paying taxes. She said she is willing to compromise, reducing his taxes by 20% Ray says he will mull it over. After hearing the proposal, Henry approaches Ray and the two agree to meet back at the office for a longer conversation.

As the sun slowly goes down, the Tate brothers set up a camping spot for the night. The brothers both acknowledge they still need to get the payroll money to help cross the border. Both men vow that their mission is not over, yet, despite their hired sharpshooter, Floyd, being caught.

Elizabeth is disappointed that despite a successful carnival, the money raised will only cover a fraction of the school’s needs. Jack puts a positive spin on Elizabeth’s day, telling her that she should be happy with all that she has done for the town and school. He then smiles and sneaks in a kiss.