The Hunt

She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain

Outside in the schoolyard, the children are gathered in a circle around Christy singing "Comin' Round the Mountain." David comes charging up on his horse waving a telegraph and yelling that his old friend "Cecil" is arriving from Boston. Christy wants to know more about this old friend, but David has no time to talk. Christy notices that David has a gun . . .

Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog

The men of the cove are admiring a female face of "great beauty," which happens to be John Holcombe's dog, Beulah. When David comments on the name, John tells the preacher that the dog was named after his mother. As the men and their dogs head off for the hunt, Sam Houston arrives with his dog Singer Lee, upset that his father left him behind. Uncle Bogg tells John that the old dog is dead but Sam Houston insists that he isn't and points out that he runs faster than any of the other dogs. John, too, defends the hound, saying that he'd put him up against any of the other dogs including the great Megan McGee. When Sam brags that the dog is king of the cove, his father tells him that he'd better be . . .

Arrival of a Songbird

Inside the schoolhouse, Christy is leading the class in song when she is interrupted by a woman with a beautiful voice who introduces herself as Sissel Jorgensen, David's old childhood friend. Christy is surprised as she assumed by the name "Cecil" that the visitor would be male. The class snickers when Sissel asks Christy if she is Miss Alice. Christy stares at the woman and for a moment, wonders if she should curtsey and kiss her hand . . .

A Bunny for A Buck

The men release the agitated dogs and they scamper off into the woods after their prey. Sam Houston urges Singer Lee to find a buck and releases him to join the rest of the pack. Everyone chases through the woods after the dogs with Sam Houston calling out that Singer Lee is on the scent of a buck. Uncle Bogg scoffs at the notion telling John that the decrepit doggy couldn't find a buck and is probably after a rabbit. Neil sticks up for the seasoned sniffer, pointing out that the other dogs seem to be following Singer Lee's lead. Uncle Bogg still isn't convinced and says that the tired tail-wagger has outlived his legs. He urges John to get rid of the pooped pooch before he ruins the young dogs. When David asks Neil to explain Bogg's remark, Neil tells him that a young dog will learn bad habits by tracking anything that moves, such as a possum or a rabbit. David, who is partial to Ruby Mae's possum surprise, doesn't see the fault in that but Neil explains that these are deer dogs, nothing else. For Singer Lee to track anything else, would mean a death sentence for the dog. When Sam Houston discovers that Singer Lee has indeed tracked and caught a rabbit, he lectures the dog about his ability to distinguish between the two. When John catches sight of the kill, he tells his son to get the dog off the hunt . . .

Mud Bath

Christy helps Sissel navigate the muddy path as the lady describes a recent wedding that she attended in Atlanta. Ruby Mae runs ahead and begins fiddling with Sissel's trunks. Sissel tells Christy that David will be relieved to hear about the wedding as the bride rather fancied the preacher and he is already spoken for. When Christy asks by whom, Sissel tells her that the lady in question is herself. Ruby Mae accidentally opens one of the trunks, spilling Sissel's clothes onto the ground. Christy, in her haste to stop Ruby Mae from dumping the content's of Sissel's trunk, trips and falls into the mud. As Christy lies there with Sissel and Ruby Mae staring at her unlady-like demeanor, she wonders what Sissel meant by her remark and what Sissel would think if she knew David had proposed to her . . .

The Tale of the White Buck

The dogs finally track down a deer and after the kill the men lounge around a fire. Urged by Uncle Bogg, Neil tells Sam Houston the story of his encounter with a great white buck when he was a young boy. Neil wanted to prove to everyone that he was a man so he climbed to the top of God's Fist, the side of the mountain named for the four ridges that represent the knuckle of a hand. It was here, on this mountain that was higher than any other, that he knew he'd find the great white buck. He climbed to the top of a huge old tree and waited. Soon a great fog rolled in, a fog so thick that he couldn't tell up from down. He fell asleep and when he awoke he thought he'd gone blind. There were a million stars in the sky but none of them were familiar. And then he saw him. A huge buck, 20 points high and as white as the snow. He raised his gun and got him in his sight as the huge buck stared at him. The buck hopped away into the forest and he followed him down the mountain. When the great white one finally vanished into the woods, Neil realized that he was only a half of a mile away from home. At the end of the tale, Sam Houston looks around him in awe, searching for the white buck . . .

Citrusly Speaking

It's wash day at the mission and Christy, Ruby Mae, and Miss Alice are attacking the task in earnest. Christy tells Miss Alice about Sissel's great beauty and is anxious for her to meet the songbird. Christy tells Alice that she'll be surprised when she meets her and Alice retorts that she'll be surprised if the lady is even awake. Christy tries to excuse her late awakening, saying that she's tired to the bone from traveling. Ruby Mae is excited about Sissel's formula for getting rid of freckles, as all it requires is a rubbing with fresh lemons. Miss Alice wonders where Ruby Mae would even find lemons but Ruby Mae has already investigated and discovered that the El Pano General Store gets a shipment every first Monday of the month. Ruby Mae notes that Monday is the day after Miss Alice leaves on her retreat. Miss Alice seems a bit nervous about the prospect of Ruby Mae joining her on her sacred outing and tells the girl that she rides alone and it is more likely that the store will receive oranges instead of lemons. She tells Ruby Mae that God gave her freckles and she a yearly retreat . . . alone! At the sound and sight of David returning from the hunt, Christy waves a pair of Sissel's pantaloons high above her head in greeting. David takes no notice of Christy, galloping past the teacher to a waiting Sissel, whom he greets with a hug. Everyone watches David's display of affection including Neil, who is rather amused when Sissel declares that she will never leave Cutter Gap . . .

Silent Vow

Miss Alice is saddling her horse in preparation for leaving on her retreat. Christy notes that Miss Alice is probably the most spiritual person that she has ever met but struggles with that God. Sometimes her heart speaks so loudly that she has to get perfectly silent to hear God speak. Thus, she feels the need to take a yearly retreat. Miss Alice finishes her saddling, mounts, and tucks her Bible inside her coat. As she starts to ride off, Christy races outside and calls to her. She tells Alice that she realizes that she has taken a vow of silence but she would like for her to remember them in her prayers. Miss Alice smiles, places her hand on her heart, waves goodbye, and rides off on her horse . . .

A Ruby for Company

Miss Alice is trotting peacefully down the road when Ruby Mae pops out of the woods almost startling the lady to death. Ruby Mae just can't believe her good fortune in meeting up with Miss Alice and tells the lady that she is the answer to her prayers. She knows that this is Miss Alice's quiet time and tells her that she doesn't have to talk, she just wants to be dropped off by the El Pano Road. Miss Alice isn't thrilled at the idea of such a jabberbird for a companion and motions for Ruby Mae to leave. Miss Alice begins to waver when Ruby Mae tells her about her terrible affliction, her face always seeming dirty no matter how much she washes. She has to get those lemons and Miss Alice is her only hope. Miss Alice finally relents and motions for the girl to jump up on the horse. Ruby Mae promises to make it up to her and offers to pass the time between there and El Pano by talking for both of them. She notices a clump of grey hair on the back of Miss Alice's neck and begins plucking out the offending hairs, promising to have Miss Alice looking twenty years younger in no time . . .

A Howling Good Time

Inside the school, it's show and tell time and David is showing off his friend, Sissel, to the children. He tells the class that Miss Jorgensen is going to audition for the Boston Conservatory of Music and asks the lady to sing for them. Creed thinks that is a marvelous idea and requests that Miss Christy join in as well. David says no, that Sissel has been training her voice for years and Christy, well, sings like Christy. Creed understands what the word training means as he trained a dog once. John Spencer urges the boy to hush, and tells him the kind of training that David is referring to is the type of training one receives in the military. At the word military, Mountie asks if Sissel's voice is like a gun or an arrow. David smiles and tells the youngster that Sissel's voice does indeed aim straight for the heart. Sissel bursts into song and her lovely solo soon becomes a duet when Singer Lee, who is hidden beneath the schoolhouse, joins in. David opens the trap door and drags the musical mutt out from his hiding place. Sam Houston tries to defend his dog's actions, saying that screeching has always hurt the animal's ears. As David drags the dog outside, Sam begs the preacher to let him stay inside, explaining that his father will put him down as soon as the dog returns home. Christy takes the dog from David, telling him she'll take care of the animal while he takes care of the songbird. As Christy leads Singer Lee down the steps, she asks Sam why his father wants to kill the dog. Sam explains that Singer Lee can't smell or run or see anymore and therefore, is no good for hunting. As Christy ties him to a tree, Sam vows to prove that he is still the best hunting dog in Cutter Gap. Inside, Sissel and David are laughing about the incident as Creed watches the two closely and notes that there appears to be a fox in the hen house . . .

Memory Garden

David and Sissel are strolling though the garden picking vegetables. David remarks upon the beauty of the countryside noting that it's glory humbles him and makes him even more powerful. Sissel notices that David seems to have fallen in love with Cutter Gap and David doesn't deny it. Sissel is hurt and tells David that he promised to love Boston best. David contradicts her, saying that he promised to love HER best and meant it with all of his twelve-year-old heart. The two stroll by Christy, who is pumping water and listening to their conversation. David reminisces about his declaration of love to Sissel, remembering that after he spoke the words she threw a bushel of apples at him. Sissel corrects his memory, reminding him that she threw the apples only after David stole a kiss. David doesn't remember this part prompting Sissel to enquire if the man remembers their first kiss. David assures the lady that he remembers the event but not quite the same way as Sissel. Christy has had enough of this stroll down memory lane and interrupts the tete-a-tete, telling Sissel that her bath is ready. Sissel is apologetic, as she never intended for Christy to draw her bath - she specifically left a note for Ruby Mae to do the task. Christy informs the two that Ruby Mae hasn't returned from her trip to El Pano. When David asks why the girl went to El Pano, Christy tells him that she wanted to find some lemons. Sissel tells Christy that Ruby Mae didn't have to trek all that way for lemons as she always travels with a supply of the fruit. David notes that the sun is going down and tells Sissel to hurry and take her bath before the cold night air affects her voice. Christy smiles and tells Sissel that she'll wait outside for Ruby Mae while she bathes. When David whispers to Christy that Sissel won't understand about the mechanics of taking a bath at the mission Christy offers to help Miss Jorgensen. Sissel assures the two that she'll be able to manage for she wouldn't want them to think that she is "city helpless . . ."

Two in A Tub

Sissel comes out of the mission wearing a robe over her chemise and pantaloons. Christy asks her again if she'd like for her to stay but Sissel says no, if Christy feels that she'll be all right. Christy assures Miss Jorgensen that nothing will disturb her and the lady vanishes behind a curtain. As she luxuriates in the tub full of hot water and suds, Sissel begins singing a tune. After lathering her sponge, she places the bar of soap on a dish behind her which Scalawag immediately begins pawing. On the mission porch, Christy informs David that Sissel is staying in Cutter Gap. David is puzzled that Sissel would want to stay in the cove as her career is back in Boston. Christy points out to the bewildered preacher that although Sissel's career is in Boston her heart is in Cutter Gap. David, of course, has no idea what Christy is talking about, for he's known Sissel since she was wearing bloomers and they are only good friends. Christy assures David that Sissel has special feelings for him causing David to wonder if Miss Huddleston might be jealous and regret her refusal to marry him. Christy tells David that she didn't refuse but David's probing is interrupted by Sissel's screams. Sissel, who is clutching a towel in front of her, points out that there is a raccoon in her bath water. Christy lifts the soggy racoon out of the tub and tells Sissel that she has nothing to fear that it is only Scalawag. Sissel wonders what kind of place this is that the teacher is on first name basis with a wild animal. Christy assures Sissel that the raccoon won't hurt her but the lady runs inside the mission. David wonders why Scalawag is here in the first place and looks accusingly at Christy. Christy is appalled that he would blame her for the incident and tells the preacher that she wouldn't marry him if he was the last man on earth. David storms off and when Christy hears a twig snap she tells Creed that she knows that he is out there. When Creed shows his face, she admonishes him but Creed tries to defend his actions telling Christy that Sissel is sneaky like a fox. He put the racoon in her bath because foxes don't like coons and when they see one they go back to where they came from. Before Christy can reply to this bit of wisdom, Singer Lee begins another chorus of howling and Christy goes to investigate . . .

In Search of A Legend

Sam Houston unties Singer Lee from his hitching post, and urges the dog to get moving. Sam told his father that he was going to spend the night with Creed Allen but instead he plans to track down the white buck and tells the mighty mutt that he is going to be the one who'll find him . . .

A "Serious" Problem

Dr. MacNeill comes charging down the road on his horse having been informed by David that there is a medical emergency at the mission. When Neil asks David how "she" is, Christy assumes that he is speaking of Ruby Mae. Neil is confused as he assumed it was Sissel who was ill. David assures Neil that nothing is wrong with Ruby Mae, she only went to El Pano as she's done a hundred times before. It's Sissel whom they should be worried about. When Christy informs David that Scalawag was more frightened by the incident than Sissel, Neil assumes that the lady was bitten by the raccoon and rushes up the stairs to attend to her. When David tells the doctor that the medical emergency is a possible strained voice, Neil lets him have it, berating him for dragging him out to the mission to look at a sore throat. David assures the doctor that he'll understand the problem after he examines Sissel. As Christy starts to follow Neil inside the mission, David tells her that she needs to control her students better. Christy retorts that David should control his friend from Boston better. Ruby Mae ran off because she thinks she needs to look more like Sissel. Creed Allen planted Scalawag in Sissel's tub because he thinks that the lady is taking all of his attention. And who knows where Sam Houston ran off to after his dog dared to embarrass Miss Jorgensen. Ever since Sissel arrived, they've been jumping through hoops like a trained seal in a circus. Christy is thankful that David sent for Neil for he won't be blinded by the songbird from Boston. He'll set her straight about her voice and her place in the cove. Christy's speech is interrupted by laughter coming from inside. When Christy and David enter the mission, Sissel tells them that the doctor wouldn't get a moment's rest in Boston, he'd be in such demand. Neil urges the patient not to speak as he doesn't want anything to endanger the audition for the Boston Conservatory. Neil hands Christy a bottle and tells her to see that Sissel gargles with it four times a day. As he leaves, he tells Sissel to let him know the results of the audition. Christy shoves the bottle in David's hands and stalks outside . . .

A Broken Vow

When Miss Alice discovers a beautiful spot on the mountain, she smiles and raises her hands to heaven. As she sits quietly listening for God, she hears the voice of Ruby Mae. Miss Alice puts her hands over her ears to block out the voice and hears Christy's voice urging her to remember them in her prayers. Miss Alice nods at this image and clutches her Bible. All of a sudden, Sam Houston comes charging through the bushes and shoots an arrow at Miss Alice. The woman has the good sense to duck and the arrow pierces her hat instead of her heart. An angry Miss Alice pulls the arrow from the tree and breaks it in half. She speaks, breaking her vow of silence, telling the Lord that she tried and motions for a sheepish Sam Houston to come to her . . .

Beseech for A Buck

That evening, as Sam Houston and Miss Alice are settled in front of a fire, Alice tells the boy that she's lucky he's such a poor shot. When she asks Sam if his parents are aware of his whereabouts, he tells her no. When Sam asks Alice why she is up here on God's Fist all by herself, she tells him that she isn't alone for God is all around her. Sam looks around but sees only the piney woods. Miss Alice tells the boy that he has to get very quiet to hear God's voice. Sam tells her that when he prays he only hears his own voice talking. Alice tells Sam that he must listen with his heart. When Sam asks Alice if she's heard God's voice, Alice says yes but it's not a deep voice but a feeling that steels all through one's body. Sam gets on his knees to pray and tells God that he made Singer Lee as he did Adam and Eve and all the other creatures and its God's responsibility to take care of him. Sam tells God that this hunt is the most important hunt of Singer Lee's life and asks HIM to let the dog find the white buck. Sam tells Alice that finding the white buck will allow Singer Lee to live forever and he knows God will lead him to it. Miss Alice tells the boy that sometimes one hears what one wants to hear but Sam Houston is certain that he heard God speak. Miss Alice points to Singer Lee and tells Sam that the voice he heard wasn't loud enough to wake the sleeping dog. Sam Houston lays down beside his faithful companion as Miss Alice looks on . . .

A Legend Comes to Life

The next morning Sam Houston awakens huddled beneath a blanket next to Miss Alice. He becomes excited when he notices the fog and notes that the setting is as it was in Neil's story. He hears Singer Lee barking and immediately assumes that he has found the scent of the great white buck. Miss Alice, who has awoken by now, tells the boy that there is no white buck in the mountains, that she's lived in this area for years and has never seen one nor has anyone else. When Sam points out that Neil has seen the buck Miss Alice tells the boy that the doctor was only telling him a story. Sam Houston won't listen to reason, telling Alice that God told him that Singer Lee was going to find the buck. He grabs his bow and arrow and rushes off to find his dog . . .

Overprotective Preacher

Christy saddles a horse and tells David that she's going to look for Ruby Mae. David is more worried about them than Ruby Mae and asks Christy if she understands his relationship with Sissel. When Christy tells David that she thinks she does, he hopes she'll understand why he has to take care of Sissel for the lady is all alone. Christy informs David that Ruby Mae depends on him as well and urges him to go and look for her . . .

An Answer to a Prayer

Sam Houston and Miss Alice trudge through the woods in search of Singer Lee. Alice tells Sam that they've lost his trail but Sam keeps going, telling Alice that they've never heard Singer Lee howl like that before. Alice tells the boy that was hours ago and they should head for home now. Sam wonders what God would think if they gave up, if they doubted his ability to answer prayers. Suddenly, Miss Alice stops and stares up the mountain. Sam follows her gaze and sees Singer Lee lying on the ground. Crying, he urges the dog to get up and find the white buck. Miss Alice tells the boy that Singer Lee is dead but an angry Sam Houston refuses to believe it, saying that God was supposed to answer his prayers if he listened with his whole heart. He begins pounding on Miss Alice's chest with his fists, asking her why she lied to him. Miss Alice holds Sam and tries to comfort him by saying that if God told him Singer Lee would live forever then he will . . . In his memory. Sam Houston tells Alice that it isn't the same thing as having Singer Lee alive but Alice tries to console him by telling him his dog will never be old or tired or sick. Sam reminds Alice that God told him that Singer Lee would find the white buck. At that moment, Miss Alice sees the image of a deer on top of the mountain and when Sam Houston, too, sees the deer he grabs his bow and arrow and aims. When Sam hesitates, the deer vanishes into the fog. When the fog clears, the deer is gone . . .

A Lesson in Cove Life

Back at the mission, Christy hands Sissel two buckets and informs her that it's chore time. When Sissel enquires as to the purpose of the buckets, Christy tells her that they are for milking the cow. As Sissel sits on a stool beside the cow and tentatively reaches for an udder with a handkerchief-covered hand, Christy captures a chicken and tells Miss Jorgensen that the bird is tonight's supper. Sissel, who believes chickens come from the butcher, is appalled by the idea of eating the bird. Christy hands the feathered fowl to the songbird and settles down on the stool to milk the cow. Sissel watches Christy as she milks the cow and asks her if she does this every day. Christy tells her that she does, along with feeding the animals, preparing their food, as well as waging a constant battle to keep the mission clean, which means making soap. Sissel releases the chicken and wonders how Christy is able to live in a place where life is so hard. Christy tells Miss Jorgensen that she'll get used to it. Sissel goes inside the mission and begins playing the piano. Christy follows her and sits on the bench beside her, listening to her sing the tune "Danny Boy." When Sissel stops, Christy tells her that she has the voice of an angel. Sissel tells her that her voice is a gift and she can't hide it away in Cutter Gap. When she tells Christy that she must sound like a terrible person, Christy assures her that she isn't, for life in the cove isn't for everyone. Pretending that it would be right for her would be a different story. Sissel points out that Christy is trying to pretend that she ISN'T trying to teach her a lesson to scare her off and that she DOESN'T care when David showers so much attention on herself. Christy tells Sissel that she understands why David does that, because she is so beautiful and civilized and reminds David of home. Sissel tells Christy that she has to go back to Boston to attend the conservatory, that music is her heart's desire. Christy points out that David is her heart's desire but Sissel tells her that she realizes that he isn't and had to come all the way to Cutter Gap to find that out. She informs Christy that David won't be too heartbroken when she leaves, then breaks out into song and drags Christy up for a dance. David enters with Ruby Mae in tow and informs the two that he found the girl at the end of the road from El Pano. Ruby Mae tells them that the store in El Pano didn't have lemons and she got three oranges instead. Sissel smiles and tells Ruby Mae that oranges are the very best of all . . .

Farewell to A Friend

The men of the cove gather atop God's Fist to pay their last respects to Singer Lee. In the cove it is acceptable for the men to lavish their love on a dog as it fills the void of never being able to express their feelings for each other. Neil tells Sam Houston that only the dogs that track the great white buck are buried on this mountain and asks Miss Alice to say a few words. Miss Alice tells everyone that she was upset when Sam and Singer Lee interrupted her retreat but realized that God's plan wasn't her plan. She came to God's Fist to get away from worldly things so that she might catch a glimpse of God. When Sam asks Alice if Singer Lee is in heaven, Neil motions for her to answer yes. Miss Alice says that she will tell the truth and tells Sam Houston that the Bible says that the spirit of man goes up toward God while the spirit of animals goes downward toward the earth. She adds that the eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, nor the heart of man dreamed of the things that God laid out in heaven for those who loved him. Sam Houston is satisfied with Alice's speech and tells her that it sounds like Singer Lee is in heaven. John puts his arms around his son and thanks Miss Alice for her inspiring words . . .

Beauty is In the Eye of the Beholder

Outside on the mission porch, Ruby Mae takes an orange and squeezes it and rubs the juice on her face. Christy comes up behind her and they both stare into the mirror as Ruby Mae points out that the freckles are fading. Christy smiles and agrees with her but tells the girl that she never noticed her freckles for all she could see were Ruby Mae's beautiful eyes . . .

Bye Bye Birdie

As Sissel prepares to leave Cutter Gap, she tells David to bring Christy to Boston for a visit for she is sure that the city would love the teacher. She urges David to remember that she was his first love. David tells Sissel that she always will be . . .

Beautiful Music

Christy and the children serenade Sissel in song as she drives away. David exclaims that Miss Christy has the most beautiful voice and Sam and Creed both agree that she does. As they finish the song, Miss Alice, Neil, and Uncle Bogg arrive with a sack. Miss Alice motions for Sam Houston and the boy is ecstatic when the contents of the sack are revealed to be two puppies. Sam is confused as one of the pups is a splitting image of Singer Lee. Miss Alice asks Neil to explain and the doctor tells the boy that Singer Lee had more life in him than was he was given credit for. When Sam asks if the puppies are Singer Lee's, Miss Alice reminds him that God said that Singer Lee would live forever. Sam tells everyone that the pups will be the best hunting dogs in the cove. Christy watches Miss Alice grope with the ways of God - she had sought silence and met a white buck. Christy had sought to dislike a girl from David's past and had discovered a friend. She wonders why God bothered with her at all for she was ashamed that her own voice didn't equal Sissel's. Christy leaves the group and watches Sissel's wagon until it disappears. Alice follows her and Christy comments that they are losing their beautiful music. Miss Alice urges Christy to laugh, for laughter is God's music. Christy and Miss Alice both begin to laugh . . .

Caroline Kent