In 1945 Inverness, Frank Randall waits at the police station for the detective handling his wife's disappearance case. Detective Collins is none too pleased to see Frank there and decides that today is the day he will end it. He gives Frank a teacupful of whiskey and offers his apologies and says he wishes there was more they could have done to find Claire. Frank tells the man that he could do his job. The detective claims to know how disappointed they couldn't help him further. Frank says that the word disappointed implies that expectations weren't met, and Frank had such very low expectations of the Inverness police. The detective details the efforts they have made to find Claire and Frank asks what they have to show for it? Two posters on the wall behind Collins shows two wanted posters. One shows a drawing of a Highlander wearing a Jacobite brooch who was last seen on October 30th and offering a reward for information for a thousand pounds. The other shows a photograph of Claire reported missing on October 31st and offering a fifteen hundred pound reward for information. Frank asks Collins if he has any idea what might have happened to Claire.
Collins says that no body found means she's probably still alive, and with no signs of a struggle at the car means she left of her own will. Frank calls that the detective's favorite theory. Collins points out that Frank witnessed the Highlander staring at her window. Frank says that he knows the Highlander was involved in Claire's disappearance from the beginning of the investigation. Collins calls Frank a fool and says of course the Highlander is involved, that he's Claire's lover, and they ran off together. Frank bangs his hand on the desk and insists his wife is not with another man. Collins stares him down, and Frank realizes the entire room full of officers are watching. He gathers up his coat and hat.
In the Highlands of 1743 Scotland, Claire and Jamie Fraser sit atop a hill overlooking a stream and eating a picnic lunch. Jamie asks Claire if he can ask her a question, and she smiles warmly at him and says of course. He bashfully says he doesn't want to infer that she's had a lot of experience with men, but he wants to know if what they have between them is usual between a man and a woman, is it always like that between a man and a woman when he touches her, or she lies with him. At first Claire says it is often something like that, but then she says no, it's not usual at all. She says it's different as she caresses his hand between hers. Jamie smiles, but then he hears the sound of an arrow landing in the dirt near them. He throws Claire to the ground and tells her to stay. He looks closely at the arrow and then laughs. Standing up, he calls out in Gaelic to a man climbing the hill.
Claire asks if the man is a friend, and Jamie says it is Hugh Munro. Hugh and Jamie hug and Jamie hands Hugh back his arrow. Jamie asks how he knew he was there, and Hugh grunts his answer. Jamie translates for Claire that Hugh saw Dougal MacKenzie and the men watering the horses, and he figured Jamie must be on the hill. Hugh asks about Claire and Jamie introduces her as his wife of two days. Hugh is happy for them and says he has news, but proposes a toast for Claire. They sit at on the blanket and drink, and Hugh asks Jamie if he can give Claire a wedding gift. He takes out a stone and polishes it on his sleeve before gallantly presenting it to Claire. She says it is beautiful and rubs her fingers over the Dragonfly in Amber. She thanks Hugh for his gift.
Jamie notes that Hugh has gone official as he's displaying his gaberlunzies or if they are for when the game hunting is bad. Jamie explains what the tokens are licenses to beg but only in the parish that issues them. She counts a dozen of them sewn to Hugh's clothing, and Jamie tells her that Hugh is special because he was captured by the Turks while at sea and was a slave in Algiers where they caught out his tongue and poured boiling oil over his legs to convert him to Islam. Hugh touches his head and then his mouth and then his heart as he looks at Claire.
Jamie reminds Hugh he had news and Hugh tells him he has contacted a Redcoat deserter named Horrocks who witnessed Jamie's escape from Fort William and saw who killed the man he's accused of murdering. Hugh tells Jamie when and where the man wants to meet, and Jamie agrees. Hugh prepares to leave, and Jamie thanks him. Hugh bows again and Jamie gives his thanks again. Claire embraces Hugh and kisses him on the cheek. He bows to Claire and limps away. Jamie tells Claire it's a chance to clear his name and remove the price on his head. He's not sure if he can trust the deserter, but if there's a chance he can go home with his bride Claire Fraser, Lady of Lallybroch. They hug and Claire glances at her golden wedding ring.
In 1945 Inverness, Frank listens to the Reverend Reginald Wakefield as he asks if Frank told the detective about the Findhorn River theory, but Frank says he wasn't interested. The reverend says it's a good theory, that Claire gets lost after leaving Craigh na Dun and falls into the river where she is swept downstream by the current to the Darnaway Forest. Frank points out that the forest is twenty kilometers away, and Wakefield says the normally fast river was swift the night Claire disappeared, and she could have been carried twice that distance. He suggests that she might have been carried to shore and took shelter in a cave. As the reverend tries to explain why Claire might still be there, Mrs. Graham enters with a pot of tea. She is followed by a young Roger Wakefield carrying a plate of biscuits. Wakefield concludes his theory stating that Claire could be waiting for rescue, living on fish and frogs. Frank is skeptical and the reverend points out that Claire is a strong woman with Army survival training. Frank says they're grasping at straws.
Mrs. Graham interrupts and calls them for tea and biscuits. Roger holds out the plate to his father who thanks him. Roger asks for a biscuit, and Mrs. Graham says he means another biscuit. The reverend playfully asks Roger if he's been eating all his biscuits and chases the boy upstairs to bed. Frank looks over the reverend's tack board showing newspaper clippings about Claire and photographs of the woods and standing stones at Craigh na Dun. Mrs. Graham tries to give him a cup of tea, but Frank says he needs something stronger. The reverend asks if he wants company, and Frank says no and not to wait up for him. Mrs. Graham and the reverend look at each and sigh.
In a pub with band music playing in the background, Frank sits at a bar drinking from a glass of liquor. A woman enters the pub and sits next to Frank, declining a drink from the bartender. She greets Frank as Mr. Randall. She says he can call her Sally, even though that's not her real name. He asks what he can do for her. She pulls out the wanted poster of the Highlander and tells Frank he's close, and she'll take Frank to him. Frank wants to leave, but she says to meet her on Drummond Lane at 12:30 a.m. and to bring the reward. Frank asks if the Highlander is with his wife, but she claims not to know. Frank drains his glass and asks for another.
In 1743 Scotland, Dougal's group sit around the campfire, enjoying the evening while Rupert MacKenzie tells the tale of the water horse and his wife. The men drink and listen to the tale while Jamie and Claire sit closely together and hold hands. Jamie says that it will be Christmas by the time they return to Castle Leoch. Claire asks if they hang their stockings by the fire, and he says to dry them. Jamie notices the horses stir and Dougal and the other men come alert while Rupert continues telling his story. Claire asks what's wrong, and he says someone is near. Claire starts, but Jamie tells her not to move, they all know. Dougal reaches for his sword as Angus Mhor moves casually away from the fire to the wagons. Jamie points out a fallen tree and tells Claire to run for it when he says. He leans in to kiss her and hands her his dirk. He looks at Murtagh Fraser who nods and moves towards the tree. Dougal gives the signal and Claire races for her hiding spot as the other men leap into battle.
The men battle with Jamie and Dougal fighting back to back. The fight continues until Ned Gowan fires at one of the attackers and he, and the others run away. Angus gives the departing men a Tulach Ard. Claire emerges from her hiding spot, and Jamie rushes to see if she's all right. She asks who those men were and Jamie says the Grants. Dougal wants to know if they took anything, and Angus says a horse and three bags of grain, but no money. Dougal makes sure young Willie is all right and Ned proudly asks if they all saw his shot, that it was at twenty paces if it was the actual one it was. Everyone looks at him in astonishment and then laugh at his exaggeration. Jamie tiredly hugs Claire, and they kiss.
In a rainy Inverness street, Frank Randall approaches a drenched Sally, who berates him for being on time. She leads him to a dank alley and then backs away. Frank is struck from behind by a burly man who demands the reward. Frank looks at the man and pulls a blackjack from his trench coat pocket and hits the man and is attacked by a second man. Frank skillfully fights both men, knocking the second one out and then whaling on the first as a screaming Sally begs him to stop. She tries to get him to stop, and he grabs her by the throat and thrusts her against the wall, demanding to know if there was a Highlander. Finally, he lets her go and backs away.
Later, the Reverend Wakefield tells him that in the modern times, it's common to think that good and evil are just ideas, but he says there is evil, and it can find good men to seduce. He says the Nazis drank from the cup of evil and thought they were satisfying their thirst with sweet wine. Frank asks if the reverend thinks he's been drinking from that cup, and Wakefield says that the Nazis drank long from that cup, but Frank only had a sip, and it should be his last. He urges Frank to back away from the darkness inside him and go back to the light. Frank takes his meaning for him to leave Inverness. The reverend urges him to go back to Oxford and start his life over. Frank asks about Claire, and the reverend tells him to let her go as she has let Frank go. An eavesdropping Mrs. Graham backs away from the room. Frank asks if the reverend believes Claire left with the Highlander, and the reverend quotes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes who said "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Frank sighs.
In the morning, Dougal sits sharpening his dirk while Jamie, Claire and Rupert look for Jamie's missing dirk. Rupert finds it behind a rock and tries to hand it to Jamie, who indicates he should give it to Claire. She says it's too long and heavy for her, and Rupert jokes that women often tell him the same thing. Ned admonishes Jamie for giving Claire a weapon and not teaching her how to use it and says someone needs to teach her to defend herself. Willie says Angus is good with a blade and Claire demurs, but Jamie says that everyone needs to know how to defend themselves, especially those people married to a Fraser. Dougal tells them that she needs a Sgian dubh and the others agree. They tell her it is a hidden dagger and Ned says that some hide them in their socks, but he keeps his in a more private location. Angus cheerfully gives Claire a lesson, showing her where to stab a man and how to avoid the soft parts of the breastbone. He uses Willie to point out the vulnerable places on a man’s back and has her practice on him while the other men look on in approval. Murtagh says to Dougal that the only good weapon for a woman is poison and Dougal agrees, but says it's lacking during combat.
Back in Inverness, Frank packs his belongings away, and then he notices Claire's suitcase. He puts it on the bed and opens it. Inside are Claire's neatly folded clothing with her books and gloves on top. He looks at a frame containing a picture of them on their wedding day.
In a meadow, Claire and Jamie fall to the ground making love and Claire asks won't the others come looking for them. Jamie says he told Dougal they were gathering Claire's healing herbs. Claire laughs and says so this was her idea and did Dougal believe it. Jamie says not for a moment. Jamie asks if the wanting of her will ever stop and then tells her he knows why the church calls lovemaking a sacrament because he feels like he is God when he is inside her. Claire laughs at him, and Jamie increases his pace until they hear the sound of a pistol being cocked.
A ragged looking Redcoat holds the pistol to Jamie's head and orders him to stand up. Claire attempts to cover herself while a second man tells Harry that he should have let Jamie finish since stopping in the middle is bad for a man's health. Harry says Jamie's health is not his concern, and the other man tells him to kill Jamie as he's going to rape Claire. Harry says he'll let Jamie watch. The man lands on a screaming Claire, who grabs the man's hair and pulls him down as she stabs him in the kidneys twice with her sgian dubh. Jamie uses the distraction to push the pistol away from his head, which goes off and then slices Harry's throat with his dirk. Jamie rolls the dead man off of Claire and then carries her up the hill.
In the reverend's manse, Mrs. Graham tells Wakefield she cannot keep silent any longer, and he says she cannot tell Frank her fantasy. She insists she won't pretend that she doesn't know what she knows. He tells her what she knows is dribbled drabble and nonsense and won't have it told as fact. She demands that Frank hear it as his right. He warns her not to give him false hope. Frank interrupts and says the walls in the house are thin. He asks Mrs. Graham if there is something she wishes to tell him, and she says there is. Resolutely, she says she must tell him what she knows even if the truth gets her fired. She tells Frank there is another explanation for what happened to Claire.
Mrs. Graham tells Frank that the old stories she first heard from her grandmother tell about people who travel through the stones and that the circle at Craigh na Dun marks a place on earth where powers come together and are focused for certain people on certain days to travel through time. She says he knows his wife went up the hill, but she never came back, at least not in 1945, but in another time. She says the when is different for each traveler who must make their own journey, but the stories say that they often return. Frank announces he will leave for Oxford by afternoon and tells Mrs. Graham he does not share her beliefs. He turns around to see a wee Roger staring up at him.
In the past, Jamie is apologizing to Claire, who tells him it's all right, they're all right. Jamie says it was his fault that he did not take proper precautions, and she was nearly raped while he couldn't stop it. He feels her bloodstained hands and says she's so cold. Dougal calls from below the hill and says they heard gunfire. Claire diagnoses herself as going into shock. The men find the bodies at the bottom of the hill, and Jamie tells Claire to stay while he goes down. Claire keeps saying it's all right, and she's in shock. She thinks that her mind was jumping from thought to thought from her parents to men she'd seen die to the smell of her uncle's cigarettes to Errol Flynn to the feeling of her dagger stabbing into the deserter's kidney. She knows Jamie is worried about her and would want to talk about what happened, but knows if she gives in to her feelings, her secret would come out. A worried Willie watches over her.
Below, Dougal searches the dead men and finds letters while Murtagh says the men were on foot. Dougal tells Jamie that Horrocks is a deserter like these two and while Hugh Monro is a good man, Horrocks could be like the dead men and if Jamie goes to see him alone, he'll be walking into a trap, and Murtagh agrees and says that Jamie will not go alone. Jamie agrees.
In his room in Inverness, Frank prepares to leave and with a final glance at Claire's suitcase still sitting on the bed, he shuts the door behind him.
In the past, the party is riding along and Claire thinks she doesn't remember mounting hers or riding away, or how long they had been riding. All she knew was that she was angry and didn't know why. She asks Jamie why they're stopping, and he says she'll have to stay there with Willie since they're all going with him to see Horrocks who might have set a trap for him and he won't risk her getting hurt again. He tells her she'll be safe with Willie to watch out for her, and she angrily tells him she can obviously take care of herself. Jamie tells her she doesn't have to prove it again. Willie promises he'll keep an eye out for Redcoats. Jamie orders her to stay put and insists she promise him she will. She angrily tells him he shouldn't make promises he can't keep. He insists she promise him until she finally does. As they ride away, Claire realizes to herself the reason she is angry is because she has forgotten about her plan to escape to the stones at Craigh na Dun.
In Inverness, Frank is listening to the radio while driving along the road until he comes to a stone marker pointing the way to Craigh na Dun. He stops the car and pauses for a long minute and then puts the car into reverse and backs up until he can turn onto the road.
Claire stands resting against a tree as an uncomfortable Willie announces he has to find someplace private. She tells him to stay downwind, and he goes off into the woods. Claire wanders around the area thinking about the incident in the meadow with the dead deserters. She comes to a break in the trees and suddenly sees the standing stones on top of Craigh na Dun. She realizes that her mind had been so clouded that she didn't recognize the road they had ridden in on, but she was certain those were the same stones she had come through. The last time she was there she had been Claire Randall, and then she was Claire Beauchamp, and now she was Claire Fraser, and the question now was who did she wish to be? She takes off at a run toward the stones.
Frank leaves the car behind and climbs the hill as Claire runs through the sparse woods towards it. He reaches the top and looks around the circle as she races up the hill. He looks at the stone in the center and weeps whispering her name and then saying it and finally yelling it. Claire appears to hear him and calls out Frank and rushes toward the stones, yelling at him to wait for her. He turns around with a hopeful look on his face, and she finally makes it to the circle and sees her discarded shawl crumpled at the bottom of the center stone. She reaches for the stone, and the world goes black as she screams Frank's name. Two Redcoats led by Corporal Hawkins pull a screaming Claire away from the stone and drag her down the hill. Frank despondently says Claire's name again and then heads down the hill. The Redcoats lead Claire to a wagon while Frank walks to his car. A manacled Claire sits in the back of a wagon and thinks that she knows they're heading to Fort William, where Jamie was imprisoned and flogged four years ago and still in control by a man she unfortunately knew too well. She thinks that he doesn't know she's coming, but she has time to plan and hoped it would be enough to save her.
At Fort William, Captain Jonathan Randall offers his congratulations to Claire on her wedding even though he doesn't care if she calls herself an Englishwoman or a Scot and observes that she still wears her old wedding ring. She sits relaxed in her chair and acts amused and calls it a sentimental attachment. He says she doesn't have a sentimental bone in her body, but the more interesting question is why does Dougal MacKenzie find her of such value as to make her one of his own rather than allow Randall to question her. She pretends not to know what he's referring to. He toasts to the king, and she does too. He says he's glad she considers him her sovereign, and she says all of the MacKenzies, including her, are the king's loyal subjects. He laughs and says that is the funniest thing he's heard all week. She says then he hasn't amused himself by flogging innocent prisoners, and he reminds her that he takes flogging very seriously.
Randall drags a chair next to hers and sits in it. He tells her that in this, the third time they've met, he intends to learn her secrets by any means necessary. Claire smiles and suggests he ask the Duke of Sandringham. He does a spit take, and she hopes the wine doesn't stain his necktie. Claire thinks that Randall's reaction proved Frank and the Reverend's speculation that Jonathan Randall had a powerful patron protecting him was true. Black Jack could commit his crimes in the Highlands because a powerful man was protecting him who was repaid with silence and loyalty.
Randall struggles with his tie and demands to know what information she has on the Duke. She calls him stupid, and it's clear that they're both employed by the Duke. He says the Duke would have told him, and she laughs. He says he will simply send a message to the Duke, and she says that's an excellent idea as the Duke will be pleased at Randall's skill in uncovering her identity. She suggests that his disrupting the Duke's plans will anger the Duke and leave Randall vulnerable to his superiors and local authorities, and it would be better if he just left Claire on her mission for the Duke. Randall says doesn't she mean the Duchess, as it's the Duchess who pulls the strings. Claire says they've never met and only communicate through messengers. Randall reveals that the Duke has never married. He pulls a rope out of his drawer.
Claire realizes she's blown it and rushes to the door to find Corporal Hawkins standing guard outside. Randall ties Claire's hands behind her back and orders the Corporal not to return no matter what he hears. Claire screams for help as Randall pulls a dagger out of his drawer and unsheathes it. He backs her up against the wall and says they will begin with her real name and then everything she knows about Dougal and Colum MacKenzie and the Jacobite rebellion and the Duke of Sandringham. He strips her bodice and then drags her by the hair to the table, throwing her faced own and lifting up her skirts. He finds her sgian dubh in her boot and amusedly pulls it, saying the lady has claws. He tests the blade against her nipple asking if her claws are sharp. Claire watches as the window shutters slam open and an armed Jamie Fraser appears and demands Randall take his hands off his wife. Randall looks unbelieving at Jamie and laughs.