In the early 1900s James Herriot, recently graduated from the veterinary college in Glasgow, finds work in the rustic Yorkshire Dales of Northern England. This heartwarming drama chronicles his encounters with the locals and the animals they depend on. Based on the semi-autobiographical novels of James Alfred Wight, OBE.
James meets Basil Courtney, a cowhand for a local farmer. Basil has worked in a circus, been a teacher, has knowledge of art and a nose for good wine! James is intrigued until he discovers that Basil has not been giving the farmer's calves their treatment and, as a result, they are showing no signs of improvement.
The romance between Calum Buchanan and Deidre McEwan flourishes. Siegfried has been hoping that the love affair 5 would quiet down but instead it seems to be going full blast. However, the course of true love never runs smoothly, and it is left to Siegfried to help solve the young couple's problems.
Deidre and Calum are busy planning their wedding. Deidre discusses her future with Helen, who hopes the couple will stay in Darrowby. However, Calum gets offered a job in Nova Scotia. Siegfried, believing he has forced Calum into applying for the job, hopes he can now persuade him to reconsider.
Siegfried visits a farm to treat a sick cat and pulls off a brilliant piece of human diagnosis at the same time. He also gets an unexpected visit from the puritan Mr. Hopps -- who does not have an animal with him.
James meets a pair of elderly twins. Oliver and Roland Strong, rabbit breeder and prize cabbage-grower respectively, have divided the cottage left to them by their mother and have not spoken to each other for 50 years. Now Oliver is convinced that Roland has poisoned one of his rabbits.
When James treats a sick cat, he finds himself in an awkward position with Mrs. Pumphrey and Mrs.Tibbett. These two formidable and mutually ferocious Darrowby matrons compete both in presents for the invalid and in hounding James for information of the patient's progress.
When Lady Hulton's cat falls ill, Siegfried embarks, with typical zeal, on updating the practice to cater for such refined clients. Lady Hulton, however, catches him out at every turn. James' problems lie with an affable but lazy farmer, Vernon Harker, whose plans to save himself from work even extend to marrying a tower of strength with a grown son to match.
Jenny Garston and David Rayner, individually charming farmer and horse-breeder, have been sworn enemies since their earliest school days. When a triple birthday is marred by tragedy it falls to Siegfried to negotiate with the stony-faced neighbors.
James is persuaded to play for the "Gentlemen's" team in the annual village cricket match. The village players are to be captained by he young, and already legendary, Freddie Trueman. Siegfried persuades Freddie to bowl flat out at the pompous Colonel Jenkins, captain of the "Gentlemen's" side. He lives to regret this when James is injured fielding and Siegfried is himself forced in to bat against "Fiery Fred".
An old friend of James and Siegfried, an itinerant raveler called Roddy Travers, arrives in Darrowby. He appears to be stealing instruments from the practice but Siegfried and James are relieved to discover that Roddy's recently acquired lurcher dog, Murphy, is the culprit. However, the situation turns serious when an elderly local farmer accuses Murphy of sheep killing.
Siegfried insists on singing the praises of his new time- management system, a personal diary, much to the annoyance of James. James is particularly put out by Siegfried's successful demonstration to his bete-noir, the redoubtable Mr. Ripley. However, Siegfried's morning is spoiled when he has to deal with Humphrey, an exuberant Great Dane.
Siegfried is perplexed when the usually-caring Grandma Clarke snubs her neighbor, Franco Pedretti, who is the new shepherd on the estate where she is a tenant farmer. It soon becomes apparent that she blames Franco for the untimely death of her son in Italy during the war and the subsequent death of his wife in childbirth.