A Man's Reach

New York News

Mr. Pentland delivers a letter to Christy for Rob Allen from New York City. It's the results of the essay contest. When Rob hears about the letter, he hurries to the schoolhouse. Christy opens the letter, reads it, and frowns. Reading her body language, a disappointed Rob turns away and Christy tries to console him. She tells him that he can't expect to win the first time that he tries but Rob feels that this is a sign that he belongs at the mill. Christy feels responsible for Rob's attitude as she was the one who encouraged him to enter the writing contest . . .

Tender Vittles

Ruby Mae has prepared roast possum for dinner. Miss Alice cannot be persuaded to join the others for this delicacy. David takes a bite and manages to assure Ruby Mae that the meat is edible. Christy brings up the subject of the essay contest and David tells her that it's a blessing that Rob didn't win because then he would have believed that he could become a professional writer. Christy doesn't see anything wrong with having dreams but David says that you can't feed a family with pen and paper. Christy doesn't understand his attitude and storms off . . .

Math Is for Men

Christy quizzes the class on square roots. Zady Spencer anxiously raises her hand, begging Christy to call on her. Christy ignores her and calls on Creed Allen, Isaac Spencer, and Lizette Holcombe instead. In her attempt to gain Christy's attention, Zady drops her slate, causing an outburst of laughter from Ruby Mae and Lizette. Christy instructs everyone to do their homework and prove their intelligence in math. Lizette tells Christy that girls aren't smart in math but Christy says that's nonsense. After class, Zady watches Ruby Mae and Lizette walk off together. Fairlight invites her daughter to wait for her while she has her reading lesson but Zady runs off . . .

New York News, Part II

Mr. Pentland makes a special trip to the mission to deliver another letter for Rob from New York City. Mr. Pentland, anxious to find out the letter's contents, urges Christy to open it. Christy doesn't oblige the man and runs to the mill to deliver it to Rob in person. The letter is from one of the judges of the essay contest, who was so impressed with Rob's writing ability, that he is offering Rob a college scholarship. Christy volunteers to help him study for the entrance exam but Rob hesitates, worried about his family's reaction. Rob wonders if he should reply and refuse the offer. Christy offers to talk to his family . . .

Like Mother Like Son

When Christy mentions the scholarship to Bob Allen, he lambasts her for putting ideas into the boy's head. After all, the mill was good enough for him, it should be good enough for Rob and his family. Mary tells Bob that her son is a dreamer like her and that if he prevents Rob from following his dreams he'll only hate him. Bob dismisses the idea but Mary persists, saying that she'll hate him if he doesn't let Rob take the exam. Rob relents and Mary invites Christy to stay for supper . . .

Double Duty

Christy and Rob begin preparing for the entrance exam. Rob still continues to help his father in the mill and rushes off in the middle of a session, late for work . . .

Pep Rally

Christy waits patiently on the steps of the schoolhouse for Rob to arrive for his session. Rob apologizes for his tardiness, explaining that he overslept. With only a few days left before the exam, Christy tries to boost Rob's morale. She points out that Dr. MacNeill was scared at the thought of leaving the mountains and attending college but knew what he wanted and went after it. She asks Rob what he really wants. Rob tells her he wants to be a writer. Satisfied with their pep talk, Christy resumes their studies . . .

Without Rhyme or Reason

Christy reads the class a nonsense poem by Lewis Caroll. It doesn't make sense to the students but Rob likes the rhythm of it. Miss Alice arrives with correspondence from the students in Cataleechee. After class is dismissed, Zady offers Christy a gift of gingerbread and asks if she'll look over her math homework. Christy dismisses her, eager to begin her study session with Rob. Miss Alice offers to help the hurt young girl, but Zady only shrugs, saying that it really doesn't matter. Miss Alice looks thoughtfully at Christy and Rob, who are lost in their studies . . .

Not My Cup of Tea

Christy and Rob are reviewing a Chemistry problem. Christy is a bit overwhelmed and can't explain the answer to Rob. Rob leaves, explaining that he has to chop wood before dark. Christy is reluctant to push a tired Rob but realizes that the date of the test is almost upon them . . .

Doctor No

Christy goes to Neil's cabin and asks him to help Rob with the Chemistry part of the exam. Neil wonders if the decision to attend college was Christy's or Rob's. Christy doesn't understand Neil's reluctance to help Rob. He of all people should understand what a college education could mean to Rob. Neil tells her that if Rob leaves the mountains he will change and become a stranger to his people. Christy points out that leaving her home and family changed her for the better. She apologizes for bothering him and leaves . . .

The Clerical Chemist

Christy serves herself some oatmeal as David and Miss Alice arrive for breakfast. When Miss Alice comments on her fatigue, Christy informs her that she and Rob were studying until midnight. Christy mentions her struggles with Chemistry and Miss Alice suggests seeking Neil's help. When Christy tells the lady that she already tried that route, David offers his expert help . . .

Dutiful Daughter

Tired of swinging on her swing, Zady jumps off and goes into the house. Fairlight tells her to help the kids get ready for school but Zady refuses, pointing out that Rob is just as able as she is. Rob laughs, telling her that that line of work is for women. Fairlight gets a strike two when she asks her daughter to clean the floor. After Rob takes the younger children to school, Fairlight lectures the girl on obedience. Zady tells Fairlight that she wishes she wasn't her mother and takes off . . .

A Second Opinion

Neil enters the schoolhouse as David is sharing his Chemistry expertise with Rob. He found an old college chemistry textbook and thought Rob could use it. He tells Christy that he still doesn't approve of what Rob is doing but the boy has to make his own mistakes. When David hesitates over a question, Neil steps in and offers to show Rob a few helpful tricks that he learned in medical school . . .

Makin' Up Is Hard To Do

Fairlight finds Zady throwing rocks by a stream. She reminds her daughter of the special times that they used to share in this spot. She remarks upon the amount of time Zady has been spending by herself and wonders about Ruby Mae and Lizette. When Zady tells her mother that she hates the two, Fairlight tells her to concentrate on her studies. Fairlight is hurt when Zady tells her that she hates not only Christy, but everyone else as well. Zady decides that she doesn't really hate her mother and the two embrace . . .

Fun With Fossils

Neil is quizzing Rob on various rock types. When Rob discovers a tiny fossilized animal in one of them, Neil tells him that the rock is hundreds of thousands of years old. David protests, stating that the rock couldn't possibly be that old as God only created the earth a few thousand years ago. The two men quibble about theology and geology until Christy interrupts and asks them what the length of a day was in the beginning. When Rob leaves for the mill, David and Neil part ways as well. Christy stares at the rock and identifies with the tiny animal trapped in the rock . . .

A Leaky Problem

Christy is grilling the class on square roots once again. She calls on Zady but the girl is uncooperative and gives an obvious wrong answer. Zady lashes out at Christy for never calling on her in class. The two continue their discussion outside where Miss Alice is repairing a window. Christy explains her reason for not calling on Zady in class but Zady wonders if she really wants females in school. Christy tells her to sit awhile and think about being a lady but Zady refuses and runs off. Christy tries to discuss Zady's attitude with Miss Alice but the lady rambles on about her battle with the leaks in the window. Christy finally comprehends the parallel between leaks and Zady . . .

A Crushing Accident

Bob Allen and some of the other men are trying to position a stone wheel. The men lose their grip on the rope holding the stone and it falls, crushing Bob's hand . . .

Late Again

When Rob doesn't show up for his study session, Christy finds out from his brother Isaac, that he has been working all day long at the mill . . .

Dreams of Reality

Christy goes to the mill and lectures Rob about missing his study session. Rob tries to explain about his father's accident but can't get a word in edgewise. Neil finally explains about Bob's hand and Christy apologizes. She offers to do the study sessions at the mill but Rob tells her that he can no longer take the test. He has to run the mill so that his family can eat . . .

A Different View

While strolling through the mountains with Miss Alice, Christy reflects on other views of beauty. She worries that Rob will never see things such as a red street car, sculptures in an art museum, and a library filled with books. Miss Alice wonders if Rob really wants to see those things or if it is Christy's dream that he do so. When Christy fears that Rob will be chained to the mill and the mountains forever, Miss Alice points out that there is no shame in honest work. Christy continues to bemoan his misfortune and Miss Alice questions her inability to let Rob live with his decision . . .

Teenage Turbulence

Christy takes another stroll through the mountains with Fairlight. Fairlight tells her about her dilemma with Zady - the girl is growing up and doesn't know where she fits in. When Fairlight offers to talk to Zady about her difficulties at school Christy tells her that she is the problem, not Zady . . .

A Nobel Gesture

Christy dismisses everyone but Zady for recess. She apologizes for treating the girl unfairly and promises to call on her more in class. Christy tells Zady that when the time comes for her to go to college, she will work with her just as hard as she did with Rob. She gives Zady an article about Nobel prize winner Marie Curie, and tells the girl that Ms. Curie reminds her of Zady . . .

One More Try

Christy recalls her father's words about being a quitter and decides to give Rob one more opportunity to take the test. She goes to the mill and finds Rob chopping wood. He apologizes for disappointing her but Christy tells him that he'll never be a disappointment to her. She tells him that if wants to take the test, she will be at the school at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. If he doesn't come, she will understand . . .

Testing, One, Two, Three

Uncle Bogg has been nominated to administer the test. When six-thirty comes and goes Uncle Bogg prepares to leave for breakfast. As he starts to make his exit, Rob arrives accompanied by his father. Christy watches proudly as Rob begins the exam . . .

A For Effort

Rob drops by the school and tells Christy not to send the examination in as he's not ready to leave Cutter Gap just yet. His family needs him and more importantly, he needs his family. Christy tells him that she looked over his test and that he did very well. Rob leaves with a smile . . .

Feels Like Home

Miss Alice finds Christy admiring the view over the lake. Miss Alice wonders if Christy is disappointed with Rob's decision but Christy tells her that Rob made the effort and that is what's important. In the meantime, she will just keep patching those leaks. Miss Alice smiles and asks if Christy will accompany her back to the mission. Christy refuses, saying that she would like to stay there a little while longer as the sky at sunset reminds her of home . . .

Caroline Kent