River's (Summer Glau) behavior is getting more erratic, and Simon (Sean Maher) is having difficulty controlling her. The Serenity touches down to deliver the cattle they picked up in "Shindig." As some of the crew go off exploring the area, local law enforcement stages a raid on the buyers during the transaction, and Book (Ron Glass) is badly wounded in the crossfire. He needs medical attention, but Simon and River are nowhere to be found. They've been abducted by local bandits, who routinely kidnap visitors and drag them to their village. The townspeople welcome them graciously, though, because they need Simon's medical skills. Unable to locate Simon, Mal (Nathan Fillion) reluctantly decides to leave the planet and seek aid from an Alliance cruiser stationed nearby. The Alliance is unwilling to help them until they learn Book's identity, and then, suddenly and mysteriously, the wheels are greased. Meanwhile, back on the planet, the townspeople's hospitality turns to malevolence when they learn that River seemingly has the ability to read minds. The superstitious hicks proclaim her a witch, and prepare to burn her at the stake. Simon stands beside her, prepared to die along with his sister if the townspeople follow through with their plans. Flashbacks throughout the episode show how Simon defied his father and gave up a promising medical career to respond to the encoded cries for help which River sent him from the Academy.
cattle, hospitality, planet, townspeople, village, witch