Pa Ingalls leads his family out through the wilderness away from small town life on the path to Kansas. They encounter a not fully frozen lake and the first taste of reality over the trials of their travels. Laura and Mary begin to get bored, while Ma wonders if the move is a good idea.
The Ingalls think they've lost their dog Jack in crossing a rough river, but he's not dead. They arrive in Kansas and meet their spitting, rugged "wildcat" bachelor neighbor, Edwards, who helps Pa finish building a house when Ma gets hurt. They also meet wolves and Indians.
Indians and mosquitoes pose more hardships for the Ingalls, who soon get to meet new neighbors, the obnoxious Scot Mrs. Scott and her husband. After they take steps to protect their home, malaria sidelines the Ingalls Family. Cowboys provide work for Pa and Laura, though their salary is of the red meat variety.
The first two thirds of this episode find more trying times for the Ingalls, as Charles' journey into town finds no mail from back home but several unsympathetic local folk. Indians are again in abundance in the middle stretch, as they again turn up uninvited and unexpected at the Ingalls' home. In the final third, it looks like Christmas will be a bust, as heavy rains have flooded the creek, keeping Charles from securing dinner and presents. But the rains aren't too much for Santa Claus, thanks to a cleaned-up Mr. Edwards, who keeps the holiday happy for the Ingalls in what is the most enjoyable portion of the miniseries overall.
Pa wrestles for his life against a feisty mountain lion, but that is only the beginning of more worries for the Ingalls clan. A fire takes hold of the family's farm and talk around town seems to indicate that the Indians are behind it. The Ingalls and Edwards (who has had his home destroyed by the Indians while in it) brace themselves for the feared and anticipated war by boarding up the Scotts' house and moving in for an interesting night.
The Indians have decided to move west following negotiations with the U.S. government, giving the Ingalls an opportunity to explore their camps. But their increased feeling of security disappears when soldiers arrive to inform the Ingalls that they and others illegally homesteading on what was previously Indian land will be forced to leave. Though Charles pleas with the newly-opened homesteading office, the decision is enforced, and the Ingalls are to be made an example of. Goodbyes are said and the final third finds the family packing up and getting ready to head north to a location to be decided.