After two years in prison Bobby Darvey is obsessed with destroying Laura Darvey and Jake. In Las Vegas, Bobby hires recently-widowed Nina Hernandez and her daughter, 25-year-old Ramona to be a cook and maid for his Aunt Alma, who lives in Woodhill. Since Ramona is a horsewoman, Bobby intends to use her to learn the best time to torch Laura’s horse barn with all the horses—and Laura—in it. Nina is told of the plan but Ramona knows nothing about it. Nina and Ramona are driven to Woodhill by Bobby’s top man, Benjy Talbot, who on the trip, falls in love with Nina. Several years earlier Benjy had a run-in with Jake so he is apprehensive about meeting up with Jake in Woodhill, but his growing love for Nina makes him willing to take the chance.
Just as his junior year in college is about to end, Alex and Tilly’s son, Bill, goes to work for Bobby Darvey. At home for the summer, Bill and Tilly argue, and Bill accidentally kills her. Bill calls his partner, Cooke, who arranges to have Tilly’s body taken to a funeral home in Indiana, then it is made to appear that Tilly, fed up with Alex and his plans, has left him.
Using a false name, Bobby finances Alex’s plan to oust Jake. As part of his plan, Bobby hires men to buy sick horses from local auction barns and drop them off at Laura’s farm so their infections will kill her horses. Instead of bringing sick horses, the men bring starved horses to town, and Laura, Ramona, and many Woodhill residents work to bring them back to health.
Bobby directs his men to call Alex with false leads as to where Tilly has been spotted. Alex devotes his time to looking for her, but of course, with no success, and that sends him into a deep depression so he no longer cares about forcing Jake out. When Alex tells Bobby he will no longer try to get Jake ousted, Bobby tells him that Bill killed Tilly and her body will not be returned to Alex until Jake is fired. Alex is devastated.
Benjy and Jake finally have a confrontation, but it ends up that they can help each other free themselves from Bobby. Since Benjy is trusted by Bobby, even though the trust is beginning to erode, he is able to let Jake know of Bobby’s plans to abduct Jake and Laura from Laura’s farm after shooting all the horses. Benjy’s knowledge and Jake’s firefighters are able to thwart Bobby's plans. But Bill and Cooke, having their own grudge against Laura, set Laura’s barn on fire. Risking their lives, Ramona Hernandez and Eli Sheffler lead the horses to safety.
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