In 20th century London, uniformed Claire and Frank Randall are at the train station as Claire prepares to depart for the front. Frank tells Claire he has contacted a colonel who said it might be a week before a new set of orders for Claire can be issued. Claire doesn't feel it's right for him to use his connections. All of the men also preparing to depart have no one to change their orders. Frank doesn't understand why she even wants to go and she tells him what she wants is her husband home every night, but she can't have that right now. Also, if people just use the system for their own benefit, then they might as well all give up and start speaking German.
Frank begs Claire to listen to reason if not her husband. She tells him it will be all right, that she's sure she'll be all right and she tells him he must trust her. Frank says that no man can stand between Claire and what she sets her mind upon and it's that stubbornness that he finds so attractive about her. The conductor calls for all aboard and Claire says she must leave. Frank says they have it backwards, it is he who should be leaving for the front lines and Claire welcomes him to the 20th century. He makes her promise to return to to him and she promises.
In the 18th century, Mrs. Fitz is bathing Claire with very cold water which Mrs. Fitz says will keep her clearheaded and strong. Claire protests she can wash and dress herself, but Mrs. Fitz says she doesn't mind. She tells Claire that she has such beautiful skin and she's never seen anyone over the age of nine without scars from injury or disease. She tells Claire her next husband will be a lucky man and Claire breaks down crying as she thinks of Frank. Mrs. Fitz asks what's wrong and Claire asks if she can tell her something. Mrs. Fitz agrees and Claire tells her that her husband is not dead. Mrs. Fitz asks if she ran away from him because he wasn't a good man and Claire says no, he's wonderful, it's just he hasn't been born yet.
Mrs. Fitz is confused and Claire tells her that she seems to have fallen through time, that she was on her honeymoon in 1945 when she went to the stone circle of Craigh na Dun at Samhain. Mrs. Fitz has heard strange tales of it. Claire says when she touched the stone, the world spun out of control and she was here in 1743. She's not an English spy, she's from the future. Mrs. Fitz starts to back away. Claire says she doesn't know if she can return to her own time, but she has to get back to the stone. Mrs. Fitz fearfully asks if Claire is seeking her help and Claire asks if the MacKenzies would believe her if she told them the truth. Mrs. Fitz says they might since she's beautiful and speaks charmingly, but she sees what Claire is now. She then tells evil demon Claire to begone and abjures her. Claire tries to explain, but Mrs. Fitz screams she's a good Christian woman and won't let Claire's evil curse her. Screaming "witch" Mrs. Fitz smacks her across the face.
Claire snaps out of her daydream as Mrs. Fitz continues to comb her damp and unruly hair. She's telling Claire about the Gathering, when hundreds of MacKenzie men throughout the Highlands will arrive at Castle Leoch to pledge their oath to Clan MacKenzie and to Colum MacKenzie. The last Gathering, Mrs. Fitz explains, was decades ago when Colum was made laird. She's very happy Claire is there to handle the healing duties as she has enough to do without having to worry about that. She tells Claire that if she does well with taking care of her patients, Dougal and Colum will not forget and she'll be in their good graces.
Claire sees that as a chance to win her release so she can make her way back to the stones, so she throws herself into the medicines, potions and remedies left behind by Davie Beaton. By caring for the people of Leoch, she could perhaps earn their trust, but she would have to be careful not to raise their suspicion with her 20th century medical knowledge. While a bored Angus Mhor looks on, she begins to clean up the surgery in preparation for her practice.
As Claire sees to her practice, Angus makes his way upstairs to the kitchen to share some drink with Rupert MacKenzie, which Claire sees as a sign of trust and hoped they would share that with Dougal. She tells them that she could use their help in the surgery by disposing of the discarded medicines. Mrs. Fitz asks what they're still doing taking up space in her kitchen. Rupert says they're just following orders by keeping an eyes on Claire. Mrs. Fitz asks if Claire has been hiding at the bottom of his mug for the past two hours.
The sally is disturbed by glass crashing to the ground dropped by Shona Macneill and Mrs. Fitz tells her not to fash and to go home to be with her other children. The woman leaves and Mrs. Fitz tells the staring servants to get back to work. Claire asks Mrs. Fitz who that woman was and Mrs. Fitz explains she is Colum's chambermaid and that in time she'll be all right as her son Lindsay died the night before. Mrs. Fitz, Rupert and Angus all cross themselves. Claire asks why she wasn't called to tend to the boy and Mrs. Fitz explains that the boy could not be cured by a mortal. Angus says the boy went up to an Eaglais Dhubh. Mrs. Fitz explains he means the old ruins of the Benedictine monastery which the people of the area call the Black Kirk.
Claire asks if they think the ruins killed the boy and Rupert derisively says it wasn't ruins, but the demons who roam them. Mrs. Fitz says Lindsay was a sickly boy and no match for Satan. Mrs. Fitz, Rupert and Angus all cross themselves. A lad enters the chamber and informs Claire that the MacKenzie is requesting her presence in his chambers. Mrs. Fitz loving grabs the boy and tries to straighten his hair. The boy asks his aunt to leave him alone and Mrs. Fitz introduces him to Claire as her nephew Tammas Baxter and that Lindsay Macneill was like a brother to him. The boy says Colum is waiting and before she leaves she tells Rupert and Angus that the medicines are on the step. The men nod and then refill their tankards.
Up in Colum's chambers, the laird is being fitted for a new frock coat by a wigged tailor as Tammas leads Claire in. She waits as she watches, wishing she had the ability to ease Colum's considerable pain which would have the added bonus of getting in Colum's good graces. The tailor steps back waiting for Colum to admire his handiwork. Colum looks down and sees the hem of the coat come to just above his feet. He looks at the tailor who smiles. Colum notes that the coat is a bit longer than the usual standard. The tailor points out that the laird is hardly standard himself and he's made a one of a kind coat for a one of a kind man. Claire looks on uneasily.
Colum says he had heard the man was the finest tailor in the Highland come recently from Edinburgh. The tailor says his wife's family are MacKenzies and he always welcomes a chance to bring her for a visit. Colum asks if his wife's family encourage him to mock his laird? Colum asks if a man's frock coat come just to the knee and did he ask for anything different than that. The tailor admits no. Colum asks if the man thought his legs should be hidden as if he had something to be ashamed of. Colum tears off the coat and throws it at the frightened man who grows even more afraid when Colum draws his dagger. With the dagger in the begging man's face, Colum orders him to make a standard coat and deliver it the next day. The man scampers out of the chambers.
Colum takes a long drink then asks Claire if she can sew as well as she heals and Claire says she can only sew flesh which makes a poor garment. Colum chuckles and begins to remove his trews. He says that Davie Beaton used to massage him to make movement easier and he asks Claire to do the same for him. Claire agrees, but says a massage of the base of the spine would be better. Colum bares his arse and Claire goes to work. She says that moist heat after the massage would be soothing and asks if there's boiling water. Colum says his chambermaid lost her son and hasn't been in. Claire says she was sorry to hear about the boy. Colum agrees and that it was Satan's work, that the foolish child went up to the Black Kirk. Colum makes the sign of the cross.
Colum wonders what he did to make the devil punish him so and he asks Claire if they don't have demons in Oxfordshire. Claire says they do, but they call them Scots. Amused, Colum laughs and then groans as Claire continues her massage. She's afraid she's hurting him, but he says on the contrary the pain is easing considerably. He then tells her that Gwyllyn the Bard will be singing in the hall that night and he invites her to be his guest. She thanks him for the offer.
That night as the clansmen gather in the hall, there is much anticipation for the evening's performance. Claire stands near an entrance watching the crowd as she sips on a glass of Colum's Rhenish wine. Dougal approached from behind and notes that his brother looks very well tonight and said Colum credited Claire for that. Claire is glad to be of service and Dougal wryly notes that it seems the feral cat they picked up on the road is trying to pull her claws in. Claire calls that a charming metaphor and seeing the bard enter, excuses herself to find a seat in the hall where she can see better.
She takes a seat on a bench and is joined by Laoghaire. They both notice Jamie enter the hall and speak with some kinsmen. Claire points out that he's quite handsome. Laoghaire agrees, but says it is not she who he fancies. Jamie spies Claire and she waves him over and says in an aside to Laoghaire that men rarely know what's best for them and that's what women are for.
Claire tells him she was just telling Miss MacKenzie how beautiful she looks and Jamie, with barely a glance at the girl, agrees. Gwyllyn begins to sing in Gaelic and Claire says she doesn't understand a word, but it's beautiful. She asks Laoghaire if Gwyllyn been at Leoch long and Jamie, ignoring the girl, answers yes, that he had stayed at Leoch for a year when he was 16 and the bard had been there then and that Colum pays him well because the Welshman would be welcome at any laird's hearth.
Laoghaire says she remembers when Jamie was there before and Jamie says she couldn't have been more than 7 or 8. He says to Claire that he doubts he was much to see to be remembered and Laoghaire insists she does and asks if he really doesn't remember her. Jamie says no, he doesn't think so and wouldn't be likely to. He jokes to Claire that young men at 16 are so full of themselves to pay attention to a bunch of snot nosed kids. At that, Claire gives him a nudge on the arm as Laoghaire tries not to cry.
The evening moves on and Jamie notice Claire is drinking Colum's Rhenish. She admits she's had three glasses and offers him the rest in her glass. He takes it and says that most people who drink with Colum can are under the table after two glasses. She asks if he thinks she's drunk and he says he'd be impressed if she wasn't. As the latest song ends, he tells Claire that the bandage on his shoulder is chafing and asks if she can change it. She asks now and he looks gives her a look. She agrees and Jamie drains the wine and hands the glass to Laoghaire and tells her to take that back.
In the candle-lit surgery, Claire wants to look at the shoulder and Jamie admits it was just a ruse to get her back to the surgery while she could still walk. Claire giggles and admits she did overindulge and says she should have know because if he was really uncomfortable, he would have just ripped off the bandages. Jamie admits he wouldn't have dared risk getting his behind whipped if he touched it. She says he's right because she is the healer and in charge. Jamie says he's never doubted it.
Claire says that if it was really bothering him, she could have taken care of it the other day at the stables. Jamie admits he didn't want to do that in front of Auld Alec and Claire realizes it is because he didn't want Alec to know that he'd been flogged. Jamie says that Alec knows about the floggings, but he's not seen the result of it. He says to know something like that is not the same as seeing it. It's personal and that if Alec were to see the scars, he wouldn't be able to see Jamie anymore without thinking of his back. Claire points out that he doesn't mind her seeing his back and he said he doesn't because she lets him know she feels sorry for it but without making him feel pitiful about it.
The moment gets awkward and then Jamie takes his leave. Claire stops him to look at the wound and slowly unties his neckcloth and unbuttons his shirt. She looks at the healing wound and says it's scabbed over well with no drainage. She gives him permission to take off the bandages in a few days. They bid each other good night.
Claire is out among the castle's garden collecting plants with an impatient Angus in tow. He asks her if she ever sits down as he hasn't had time to digest his breakfast. Claire says the exercise is good for his digestion. He scoffs. Geillis Duncan arrives having been invited by Claire to gather herbs and plants. Geillis said she wouldn't have missed it. Angus is exasperated at Geillis's arrival saying the day just keeps getting worse.
As they walk among the plants, Geillis says she got stuck walking with that pompous windbag Father Bain who is planning on performing an exorcism for Tammas Baxter, who had gone to the Black Kirk with Lindsay Macneill and has been seized with the same evil. Geillis wants to know what's wrong with Claire who says that the boy is Mrs. Fitz's nephew and asks specifically what she meant by seized with evil. Geillis says the boy isn't ill, he's possessed. She asks Claire if she believes in demonic possession and Claire redirects the question back at her. Geillis says she believes there are unknown powers beyond what they can see and hear and touch. It matters not if you call it demon, fairy or devil. She asks if Claire believes in the powers of magic and Claire said she hasn't really thought about it. Geillis asks if Claire has ever found herself in a situation that doesn't have an explanation. Claire deflects again and says it's possible that the boy is sick and not possessed and if so, then there might be something they could do about it. Geillis say that the people believe the boy is possessed and saying otherwise would put her in danger. She refuses to go near him and advises Claire to do the same. Claire makes up her mind and leaves the garden with an upset Angus following her.
On the way to the Baxter home, Angus tries to get Claire to tell him where she's going. Finally, on the Baxter doorstep, he tells her that Colum would not like her interfering with spiritual matters. When she turns around, he believes that he's convinced her, but she says that one time a priest told her that her healing skills were a gift from god. Angus makes the sign of the cross.
Inside the house, Tammas is tied to the bed and groaning in pain. Mrs. Fitz and his siblings sit watch and Mrs. Fitz tells Claire that her sister has gone to fetch Father Bain. Claire asks why he's tied and Mrs. Fitz says it's because he may become violent because of the demons. Claire asks if his symptoms are like that of the other boy and Mrs. Fitz confirms that, saying Lindsay had a weak constitution so the devil took him faster. Claire thinks that there is no fever so it's not an infection nor are the other children sick. With a slow heart rate and constricted pupils, it was most likely poisoning. Mrs. Fitz tells him he's eaten nothing but broth which he brought back up again.
Tammas deliriously cries out not to go near him and Mrs. Fitz says he sees the demon, but Claire says he's hallucinating, another sign of poison. She tries to cut the ropes, but Mrs. Fitz refuses to let her. Father Bain arrives and agrees not to untie the boy. Mrs. Fitz's sister wants to know why she let a stranger into the house at a time like this. She tells Mrs. Baxter that Claire is a fine healer and may be able to help. Father Bain begins the exorcism as Claire tells Mrs. Baxter that Tammas needs to be unbound and fresh air let into the house, that it's possible she can help him. Mrs. Fitz says it's best she stand aside and allow Father Bain to do his work.
Back at Leoch, Angus asks Claire if she felt a chill when she got near the boy Tammas. He says they say you can feel the devil's presence by the chill in the air and he says the boy must have been speaking in tongues. Claire refutes both assumptions and Angus says he heard Lindsay howled in five languages. Then he sees Rupert drinking in the kitchen and orders Claire to stay put. Wanting to keep on the MacKenzie's good side, she obeys. She had been sure Mrs. Fitz would have allowed her to help the boy after the priest finished his prayers, but she knows that even if she could figure out what was wrong with him, she might not be able to help. Then she sees a giggling Laoghaire and Jamie Fraser canoodling. Jamie sees Claire watching and then goes on with his business. Angus returns and congratulates her on obeying a man's orders for once.
Later, at supper, Claire teases Jamie's swollen lips, asking him if he had been thumped by a horse and how much those fillies can be dangerous. Jamie tries to warn Claire off by gently stepping on her foot, but she gives him a kick with the other, causing him to spill his drink. Murtagh asks Jamie what's wrong with him and Jamie, glaring at Claire, says he bit his tongue. Murtagh calls him clumsy much to Claire's amusement. Jamie makes an excuse and rushes off. Murtagh warns Claire that if she's teasing Jamie about Laoghaire and if her father or Colum hear about it, then Jamie could get more than just a bloody nose. Claire asks if he means a wife and Murtagh says maybe, but Laoghaire is not the wife Jamie should have. Jamie needs a woman, not a girl and Laoghaire will still be a girl when she's 50. Murtagh says he's been around long enough to know the difference very well and so does Claire.
After, Claire followed by Rupert, takes a walk out in the night air, is ashamed about the way she teased Jamie and realizes that she was jealous, not of Laoghaire, but of the intimacy they shared. She misses her husband. Dougal finds her crying and asks if she's all right. She claims she's fine and asks what she can do for him. He offers to take her to Cranesmuir for a visit with Geillis Duncan so she can restock her herb and medicine supply before the Gathering. She agrees and he says he'll take her in the morning.
The two ride to the village the next day and Geillis tells Claire that she expects she'll need lots of white willow bark for the hangovers sure to plague the men during the Gathering. Claire asks if her sudden but welcome visit was prompted by Geillis's actions. Geillis says again that there are many things in this world they can't explain. She says she heard that Claire had paid a visit to the Baxter's despite her warning. Claire says she got to see Father Bain at his work and if Tammas were her child she wouldn't allow the priest to care for him. Geillis tells her she should avoid Father Bain at all costs because there's no mercy in his heart. He thinks that women are temptresses and should be beaten daily by their husbands to keep their evil at bay.
Claire shakes her head and says she feels like a stranger in a strange land. Geillis says it can't be easy being a sassenach in the Highlands if that's what she means. They are interrupted by a mod yelling in the streets. They peer out the upper window to see Father Bain marching a young man followed by the yelling mob through the streets to the fiscal's house. Geillis tells Claire the tanner's apprentice was most likely caught stealing and they've brought him to her husband to dispense justice. She says if Arthur's breakfast had agreed with him, the boy probably would have gotten a simple whipping, but as it did not, the boy will probably lose a hand. Claire asks just for stealing and when Geillis shrugs, she says that's appalling.
A moaning Arthur arrives needing a remedy for his upset stomach. Claire asks him if he's decided the fate of the boy and he wonders who she is. Geillis tells him she is Claire Beauchamp from the castle. Geillis gives him a potion and he drinks it down. With stomach rolling and excessive flatulence, he tells her it's already working. Claire, disgusted, says she doesn't know what evidence they have against the boy, but surely...Arthur interrupts and says the boy already confessed to stealing two bannocks from his employer and the father wants to take his hand as the only way to save the boy's immortal soul. She says he's only a child and shouldn't be mutilated for stealing a loaf of bread. Arthur dismisses her.
Claire looks at Geillis who rolls her eyes and then begins to charm Arthur into granting leniency on the boy, getting him to agree to only an hour in the pillory and one nail eared. After he makes his farting way out, Claire asks what did he mean one ear nailed? Geillis says it's nailed to the pillory, of course. Claire watches from the window as the boy is dragged to the pillory and made to sit down. The watchman arrives and drives a nail through the boys ear to the wood of the stocks. Father Bain says now the boy will be absolved. Geillis, pleased with herself, says they should get back to work on the herbs, then go downstairs for a drink where they can tell each other all their secrets.
Later, as Claire watches the boy from the window, Geillis says Claire is a puzzle to her, in that one would think they don't have punishment where she comes from. Claire says it's different there and Geillis says she didn't think things would be so different in Oxfordshire. Claire says she had an unusual childhood, that she had been brought up in many different places. Geillis encourages her to tell and to Geillis's annoyance, before Claire can say anything more, they're interrupted by Jamie's arrival. He says Dougal was called back to the castle and sent him to get her. Geillis tells him that Claire was just about to tell some stories and invites him to join them, but Jamie picks up from Claire that she'd rather not say so he makes their excuses. Claire thanks Geillis for her hospitality and the herbs and after Geillis invites her back again, they leave.
Outside, Claire asks Jamie how much longer the boy will have to stay there and Jamie tells her that the lad's time was over a while ago, he just hasn't had the courage yet to rip his ear from the nail. Appalled, Claire asks Jamie if he has strong fingers and immediately Jamie guesses Claire's meaning. At the pillory, Claire moves closer while Jamie to the amusement of the small crowd, jokes at the boy. He tells him that all he needs to do is just jerk on his head and it'll be done. Jamie glances at Claire and then puts his hand on the boy's head and offers to help him out. The boy cries no and Claire pretends to swoon, falling back into some villages and upsetting a cart. While the other villagers are distracted, Jamie yanks the nail out of the boy's ear and shoos him home. An amused Geillis looks on as Jamie helps Claire to her feet, telling the crowd that she doesn't like the sight of blood.
Claire thanks Jamie for his help saying it could have been dangerous for him. He says she wouldn't expect him to be less bold than a small sassenach girl. She asks if he'll help her again by taking her to the Black Kirk. At the site, Claire says it's so peaceful there in contrary to its dark reputation. Jamie says Satan would hardly catch many unsuspecting souls in dark and damp places. Claire asks him if he believes if demons live there and he says he knows Lindsay and Tammas are not the first boys to sicken or die after visiting. He tells her the Black Kirk is a rite of passage to manhood for the young boys of the area. He did it himself without any harm when he was a lad, but a cousin got sick for nearly a week. Claire asks if he thinks demons made his cousin sick and Jamie says he is an educated man, maybe not as educated as Claire, but he had a good tutor who taught him Latin and Greek, not stories of fairies, devils or waterhorses in lochs. However, he is also a Highlander and doesn't believe in tempting fate by teasing Satan in his own church. He makes the sign of the cross.
Claire asks what he and the other boys did to prove their manhoods and he says mostly run around, climb the walls, or defy the devil by pissing on the stones. He said if they were lucky, they'd find berries or wood garlic to eat. She asks him to show him some wood garlic and he does. He does and says he didn't care for the taste, but some folk like it very much. Claire says it isn't wood garlic, but convallaria majalis or lily of the valley. Jamie's never heard of it and Claire says that's because it's not native to Scotland. She asks if the monks who build the church were from Germany and he's confused until she clarifies she means Prussia. He says they were.
Claire returns to the Baxter's house where Father Bain is administering the last rites to young Tammas. Mrs. Fitz tells her that the boy is nearly dead. Mrs. Baxter says that Satan has claimed his body, but Father Bain can only hope to save his immortal soul. Claire tells them she thinks she can save his life. She shows them the plant and says she thinks Lindsay and Tammas ate it. She says it's not wood garlic, but lily of the valley and is poisonous. She says she can give Tammas something to counteract the poison, but she must do so quickly. Father Bain asks what kind of blasphemy is she spouting and she says she means no blasphemy. He says he is the lord's disciple and she is not qualified to drive away demons. He demands she leave at once, but she insists the boy is sick from poison, not a demon and he'll die if they don't let her treat him.
Mrs. Fitz tells the father to let Claire help the boy and he says he won't be ordered by a woman, that the boy must be purged. Mrs. Fitz angrily tells him this is her sister's home and her father's before that and they'll decide what to do under its roof. Shocked, Father Bain says nothing as Mrs. Fitz tells Claire to help Tammas. Father Bain tells Claire she has the scent of hell and she shrugs him off. She pours a decoction of belladonna into the boy's mouth and knows that if it worked his heart would stabilize and lower his blood pressure and bring him awake within moments. If she was wrong about the dosage or the poison, it would kill him. As the family watches and prays, Tammas begins to groan and slowly comes back to consciousness. Mrs. Baxter proclaims it a miracle. Mrs. Fitz bids god to bless Claire. Father Bain says that while Satan might like to make god look like a fool, god will have the last word. Knowing she's made an enemy, Claire watches as he leaves.
At the castle, Claire is helping Jamie curry a horse while she tells him of the incident, saying that the good father would rather the boy had died rather than Claire save him. Jamie agrees with that and says that for a man like Father Bain, his beliefs are how he makes sense of life and if that's gone what does he have left? He asks if it's so different where she comes from and she says in that regard, no. Jamie says if it makes her feel better, Mrs. Fitz now calls her the miracle worker. Claire scoffs and says at the least she's hoped she's earned Colum's trust. Jamie says his uncle is taking credit for bringing her on as his healer to the MacKenzies and to Claire's dismay Jamie doubts Colum will want Claire to leave any time soon.
That night, Claire nearly avoids the bard's performance in the hall, not wanting to be stared at in awe and suspicion by the castle's occupants. Feeling hopeless about being able to return to her husband, that even if she got away and found her way back to the stones, there was no guarantee that she would be able to travel back to her time, that she might be flung to a different time altogether. The only thing that gets her to go to the hall is Colum's Rhenish wine and the oblivion it promises.
Jamie eagerly invites Claire to sit with him. He translates Gwyllyn's song for Claire, saying it's about a man out late at night on a fairy hill on the even of Samhain when he hears the sound of a woman's sad singing from the very rocks of the hill. "I am a woman of Balnain," Jamie translates. "The folk have stone me over again, the stones seem to say. I stood upon the hill and wind did rise, and the sound of thunder rolled across the land. I placed my hands upon the tallest stone and traveled to a far, distant land where I lived for a time among strangers who became lovers and friends. But one day I saw the moon came out and the wind rose once more so I touched the stones and traveled back to my own land and took up again with the man I had left behind."
Claire asks if the woman came back through the stones and Jamie says yes, she did, that they always do. Claire thinks it's a folktale and madness to believe it, yet the song described what had happened to her. She thinks if half of it is right, a woman leaving her home, then why not the half where the woman returned? Geillis had said there's many things in this world not explainable. A newly hopeful Claire realizes she must escape from Leoch and make her way back or die trying.