Duncan investigates the death of an immortal friend and must defend the mortal wrongfully accused of the crime.
Duncan and Tessa are out driving, on their way to meet Duncan's friend Lucas Desiree. Out by the road, Leo,a homeless man, is collecting his things when he hears the sound of swords clashing. He follows the sound to a nearby cabin. Duncan and Tessa, having stopped their car after an overheated radiator, decide to walk the rest of the way to Desiree's cabin. On the way, Duncan talks with Tessa about Lucas, how long he lived in the woods, and why he contacted Duncan after such a long time. Leo, approaching the cabin, suddenly ducks for cover when an electrical storm flies from the cabin, while Duncan, still around the corner, suddenly drops to his knees. When he gets up, he tells Tessa Lucas has just died. Leo enters the cabin to find the headless body of Lucas on the floor, and a sword lying on the bed. As he picks it up, a dark figure - a county sheriff - suddenly enters the room. Leo protests his innocence, but the sheriff, Howard Crowley, is unwilling to listen. Promising to see Leo "ride the lightning," he places Atkins in cuffs and arrests him for murder.
In Seacouver, Richie is idling at the shop with a paper airplane when Duncan enters and says he has a task for him. Duncan and Richie are returning to Steveston to talk to Leo, and Richie will be driving. When Tessa hears about it, she wants to come too, but Duncan wants her to stay put, to Tessa's frustration. Tessa remains behind, just in time to be questioned by reporter Randi McFarland. In Steveston, Sgt. Powell arrives at Sheriff Crowley's office, to compare notes on the murder of Lucas Desiree with the murder of Slan Quince several weeks earlier. He offers to assist Crowley in interrogating Leo. Duncan, on the road, reveals his plan to Richie: he needs to get close to Leo, to determine whether the man is Immortal or not. Richie, realizing an evil Immortal is part of the plan, becomes slightly less enthused at the idea.
In the sherriff's office, Powell and Crowley grill Leo relentlessly about the killing. Leo vehemently denies being involved, lapsing into a flashback of his tour in Vietnam. Powell attempts to run scenario after scenario on Leo, attempting to trick him into spilling a confession, but to no result. Leo only remembers his last encounter with the enemy. Duncan and Richie arrive in Steveston, where Richie notes a complete lack of facilities. Duncan points out that's why Lucas came to live there. He tells Richie to do what he was brought there to do. In the sheriff's office, Leo's flashback comes to a head, and he breaks down completely. Sgt. Powell realizes that Leo is telling the truth: he didn't kill Desiree.
Outside, Richie stages a break-in on Duncan's Thunderbird in full view of Crowley's deputy, who promptly steps up and arrests Richie. An hour later, Duncan is brought in to identify Richie. As he enters the holding area, he finds himself remembering ...
- It is the American Civil War, somewhere in the South. Duncan, a prisoner of the Confederate Army, is part of a chain gang working on a mass grave. Duncan has been captured attempting to free slaves and is awaiting execution as a spy. When one of his fellow prisoners collapses, Duncan pleads with the guards for water, to no avail. Suddenly, Duncan feels the Buzz as a mounted captain rides up. The officer observes the situation, and commands water and rations to be passed out to the prisoners. When asked under whose orders, the officer responds: "Captain Lucas Desiree."
In the present, Duncan has Richie released, having got what he wanted: access to the holding cells. As the deputy processes Richie out, Duncan sneaks over to the cell where Leo is. It takes only an instant to ascertain that Leo is not an Immortal. Duncan asks Leo if he saw anyone else at Lucas's cabin, and Leo says no. Duncan promises to get Leo out; just as the deputy wises up. When the deputy presses Duncan, MacLeod explains his friendship to Lucas and steps out. He asks if there was anything in particular that brought Sheriff Crowley out so quickly, to which the deputy attibutes the lightning storm. The deputy comments that he thinks Duncan is a reporter and should have just said so like the other one. "She was a lot prettier than you," he quips dryly.
Stopping for lunch at the diner across the street, Duncan and Richie encounter a group of burly Steveston residents, drunk and boasting about what to do with "psycho killers." When one of them begins to harass Duncan, the Highlander quickly attacks, pinning him with an arm twist, berating him for a fool, and informing the group he is a friend of Lucas Desiree and is in Steveston trying to find out how Lucas died.
Outside the sheriff's office, Randi McFarland is grilling Sgt. Powell about the killing. All Powell will tell her is that he may be taking a suspect back for questioning. In the diner, Duncan is talking to the waitress, another friend of Lucas's who reveals that Lucas kept to himself for the most part, but would play chess once a week with the sheriff - not Crowley, but Crowley's predecessor, Sheriff Perkins. Crowley, in fact, is another loner who keeps to himself - and away from Lucas.
Meanwhile, Crowley and Powell are arguing. Powell is convinced Leo is innocent and has procured a warrant to have him extradited for "psychiatric evaluation." Crowley, however is furious, accusing Powell of falling for Leo's story, "like a catfish to a stink bait." He warns that the people of Steveston may not react so well to Powell's actions, to which Powell coldly replies the matter is no longer in Seveston's jurisdiction. As Powell escorts Leo into a police car, Crowley has his deputy ride with him, to show him a "back way out of the county."
In the diner, Duncan and Richie are finishing their lunch when the phone rings, and an unknown caller asks for one of the residents. After the man hangs up, he and several of his friends wordlessly get up and leave. The waitress dismisses the incident, commenting on Leo's extradition. When he comments that she hopes no one hangs him before he gets to Seacouver, Duncan suddenly recalls his second encounter with Lucas ...
- In the Confederate prison camp, Duncan is hanged for espionage, and buried in a shallow grave. Later on, Lucas shows up and digs Duncan out. Introducing himself, Duncan comments that some Immortals would think this a good time to take his head. "Some would," Lucas agrees, then thows Duncan a pack of clothes. He tells Duncan it was hard to have him hanged, knowing what he knew, but the others wanted it. "You're destroying their way of life," he notes to Duncan. "Revenge is all they have left." Releasing Duncan, he gives him directions to the Union frontlines. Duncan points out Lucas is fighting on the wrong side, and Lucas informs Duncan he is only there due to loyalty for his Sourthern friends. He intends to go north one day, when the fighting is over. The two part, fast friends.
In the present, Duncan realizes the phone call is a call to assemble a lynch mob. Rushing out of the diner, he is confronted by some of the Steveston residents, including the logger who assaulted him. Then Sheriff Crowley steps up. He dismisses the Steveston residents, and begins to speak to MacLeod, who knows exactly what is going on: Crowley is the Immortal who took Lucas's head, and stirred up the lynch mob to see that Leo dies for the crime. "Your friend Lucas died on his knees," taunts Crowley, knowing MacLeod has come for him. Duncan replies quietly: "We'll see how you do."
Noticing Randi MacFarland and her cameraman staking out the sheriff's office, Duncan has another idea. He sends Richie over to the two with a hot tip, then takes off to intercept the coming confrontation. Out on the road, Sgt. Powell and Leo are riding to Seacouver when they encounter a truck broken down on the side of the road. Over Powell's express objections, the deputy gets out and goes to assist. Sure enough, the breakdown is a ruse. A pair of trucks appear and blockade the road, and the lynch mob piles out and demands Leo be given up. Without warning, Randi and Richie arrive, training cameras on the incident. Then Duncan explodes onto the scene, beating down several mob members and facing off their leader. Realizing they are outclassed, the mob breaks off and leaves. As Powell makes a statement to MacFarland, Duncan and Richie slip off, with one final order of business. At Lucas's old cabin, Duncan meets Crowley. He demands to know why Crowley used Leo, to which the other Immortal replies: "People in a small town like to talk. If they don't get a fix on who did what, they keep picking at it like a scab." This latest confession is all MacLeod needs to hear, and drawing his sword, he attacks. In a brief, explosive exchange, Duncan overpowers Crowley and disembowels him. On his knees, Crowley taunts MacLeod one last time: "in the future, I'll remember to leave your friends in peace." Duncan coldly asks, "What future?" With that, the Highlander beheads his enemy.
In Seacouver, Sgt. Powell is taking a statement from Duncan and Richie regarding Desiree and Crowley. Leo shows up, on his way to the bus station. He has something he wishes to sell Duncan: his Purple Heart awarded for his services in the war. Duncan, rather than buying the medal, offers to lend Leo some money against it. As Leo agrees, Duncan quietly slips the medal back into Leo's pack when the other is not looking. After Leo and Sgt. Powell depart, Richie asks about Crowley and Lucas. Duncan says he took care of them. At the cabin, Lucas' body now lies in a grave, his sword as a marker.
Richie: "Somebody starts playing a banjo, I'm outta here ..."