Prestonpans opens with Claire off in the woods to “pish” but is brought up short by the corpse of a Highlander who died at the hands of the Redcoats. Claire takes the man’s weapon and returns to a waiting Jamie fearing there is nothing Jamie and she can do to prevent the future. The troops are at Prestonpans and Claire knows the Jacobites will win the day but one battle isn’t the war and knowing the outcome doesn’t prepare you for those who will get hurt or die. Claire has seen far too many men killed in war.
In a tactical meeting with Charles’s advisors, Quartermaster Sir John O’Sullivan (the Irishman) and Lieutenant-General Lord George Murray of Clan Murray (who is more favored than the Quartermaster) are arguing over strategy. O’Sullivan wants to attack quacking but Murray wants to hold the higher ground. The problem is to execute any attack they would need to cross Tranent Meadow which is likely boggy ground and will ultimately trap anything trying to cross it. Charles seems like he’s at a complete loss and Jamie suggests a cavalry field trip to determine if the meadow is passable. But they have no cavalry which is something else that angers the advisors. Charles points out how he took Perth and Edinburgh without firing a shot but it is quickly brought to his attention that they surprised General Cope which will not happen again.
Charles then has the brilliant idea to offer Cope generous terms of surrender, which is ludicrous in the extreme, because he informs his advisors, “We are all brothers, after all.” Everyone is stunned and O’Sullivan tells Charles he has a generous heart but the troops are there to fight and win.
Jamie tells the Laird of Clan McDonald to tell his men to “await further order, which may be some time,” while the advisors continue to argue. Jamie leaves followed by Charles who tells Jamie he must succeed because he’s promised God and his father. Am I the only one annoyed by the “Mark Me” line? Stop it.
Charles wants Claire ordered to care for the English wounded before the Jacobites. Charles feels he needs to convey that his Jacobite forces are attacking with reluctance (though I doubt that was true of any of the Jacobites) because in his mind they will all be friends under his father’s rule. Jamie advises Charles to ease off the idea of friendship between the English and the Scots because the men will not think too much of the idea. And then tacks on, Claire is unlikely to obey the order to treat the English wounded first. Charles clearly has no doubt Claire won’t obey his order but assumes she’ll obey Jamie’s who is her lord and master. The utter fool.
Then Jamie is rather forced into kissing the Princes ring. Jamie never looks keen to do that.
In the camp, everyone is bored waiting for orders and Angus is spitting water at Kincaid… or Ross. Which is which? This breaks out in a bit of a stramash which ends with Angus’s dirk at Kincaid’s throat (he’s the one who got spit on). Murtagh is trying to control the situation with threats of his own violence which wakes Dougal up to complain about the men making too much noise, as he clutches a bottle. But Jamie steps in and mentions they are getting along about the same as the commanders, letting Murtagh know there are still no orders.
Jamie gets Dougal up and lets him know they need to test the marsh between them and the English. Jamie suggests a lucky man could ride out into the meadow to see just how stable the ground is and if it can support a horse and rider then it is likely to support the infantry.
Dougal is willing because all he has to do is stay out of the range of the guns. Jamie believes 125 yards should keep Dougal safe but Dougal is inclined to think 105. Jamie reminds Dougal the English are going to be very happy to shoot at him but Dougal wants to prove himself and goes off to find a horse.
Dougal rides out into the meadow slowly, arms stretched out. The Scots watch with awe while the English ready their weapons to try and shoot Dougal. Even Charles appears awed by Dougal’s boldness and finding him an “extraordinary fellow” and wonders at his name. Angus tells him Dougal’s name and asks his own. The Prince introduces himself while still watching Dougal and both Angus and Rupert are going a little fanboy.
Dougal falls show of halfway when his horse gets stuck in the marsh. The English open fire and many shots go astray but one manages to shoot Dougal’s bonnet right off his head leaving a bit of a flesh wound. Dougal does an about face and brings the horse back to the Scot’s side of things earning a hug from Charles. Dougal relays he is there to report there will be no charge on the English. Charles tells Murray to figure the problem out while Jamie tells Dougal he needs his wound examined. Dougal shrugs of the idea of medical attention say he needs to change his breeks because, “the hero of the hour has shat his pants.”
In Claire’s field hospital, she is addressing the volunteers about their assignments: answering questions and trying to keep an eye on Fergus who is responsible for the fires which he deems women’s work.
That night Richard Anderson, the son of the man who owns the land they are camped on, shows up with Fergus in the field hospital with information on how to get across the marsh. Claire takes him to Jamie and the advisors where Anderson relays the information and assures them he can get them across to the other side. Charles wishes O’Sullivan were there to make the decision for him but Jamie advises “delay could prove fatal,” effectively pushing Charles into the decision.
Before they all set off on their mission, Ross and Kincaid make a pact to take care of the other’s family should they not survive. Angus overhears this and tries to make a similar pact with Rupert. Angus wishes Rupert to have his sword, dirk, and sporran with “all that it contains.” Rupert wants to know what Angus is talking about and he tells him about Ross and Kincaid’s pact and then offers him his part-time whore, spitting in his hand to seal the deal. Rupert refuses, telling Angus to shut it before he brings bad luck on them. Though it seems to be Rupert doesn’t want to think about his buddy dying.
Murtagh is sharpening his dirk when Jamie approaches and Murtagh talks about having a meaningful death. He feels if he were to perish here he’d been one more body in an army of 2000 men. “Five hundred, a thousand would have to be slain for our deaths to take on any meaning.” Jamie isn’t really comforted by this discussion and talks about how they tried to stop all of this but failed nearly losing his marriage in the process. Murtagh let’s Jamie know “we” failed because he is on Jamie’s side.
Jamie goes to see Claire telling her she should sleep but she thinks that is an unlikely prospect. They are just about to kiss when Fergus burst in on them asking permission to go with Jamie and the men. Fergus believes he can sneak into Cope’s tent and steal his sword but Jamie informs Fergus he’s the only one he trusts to guard Claire.
Murtagh, Angus and Rupert arrive to haul Jamie off on their mission but first Angus wants another kiss from Claire should he not return Claire tells him he is shameless and gives him a quick peck on the cheek.
Rupert won’t say goodbye but does a basic “until we see each other again.” And then it is Murtagh’s turn. She wants him to watch over Jamie and he says, “Always.” Claire can tell him they will win the day but it doesn’t mean all of them will return to her. Then it is onto Jamie and several lingering kisses and longing stares before Claire says, “One your way, soldier,” with tears in her eyes. Jamie bows and is off.
Claire orders her nurses to rest and notices Fergus is missing.
The men, meanwhile, are advancing through the marsh in the misty pre-dawn. Fergus is among them and once they reason the other side Jamie tells O’Sullivan to keep Charles back. Charles wants to lead the charge but Jamie tells him the rebellion would end should Charles parish.
Claire is supervising the hospital and notice the women are in low spirits. She tries to reassure them.
Back in the thick of things, Jamie gives the order to charge and the Highlanders catch the English camp asleep and unprepared. It is a slaughter.
Back in the hospital, Ross carries Kincaid in on his shoulders and Claire pronounces him dead telling Ross there is nothing she can do.
On the battlefield, Fergus looks scared and out of place. The British officers are trying to get their forces to stand their ground and he attacks Rupert bringing him down.
Back at the field hospital, Angus carries in Rupert. Claire is dealing with a serious case but Angus roars “NOW!” when she tries to get him to wait. Claire rushes to Rupert’s side which is sliced opened and yells out how she must stitch it up to prevent infection. Rupert mumbles “Did he get blown up? Tell me!” Claire looks to Angus for the details but Angus tells her it was nothing just a cannon blast.
In a flashback, Rupert is cut down and Angus kills a man about to take another attempt on Rupert. Rupert smiles at Angus who goes flying when a cannon ball explodes close behind him.
Claire finishes stitching Rupert and then wants to check on Angus who says he’s fine. She checks his eyes and asks about his head but Angus does seem fine though Claire doesn’t want him going to sleep. Angus plans to watch Rupert’s big belly go up and down.
Jamie and Murtagh arrive and Jamie tells Claire “the day is ours, Sassenach.” It all happened in 15 minutes and now Cope is in retreat. Hundreds are dead and many wounded on the English side and their own casualties are minor. And that is when they kiss and then Claire proceeds to pat at Jamie for wounds. He’s good.
Fergus is outside and Claire goes to him (like a mother would). Fergus is in shock and tells her he thinks he killed an English soldier. Claire holds him and while he’s not injured he’s tired and Claire takes him off to have a bit and get some rest.
Meanwhile, Dougal is out in the field murdering any wounded English he comes across when one calls him by name. Lt. Jeremy Foster is wounded and asks to be taken to the field hospital though all of this after informing Dougal there is no defeating the British army. Dougal isn’t kind taking out his dirk and stabs him in the chest saying “I’ll look for you in Hell.”
Back in the hospital, Ross covers Kincaid’s face and looks to Angus telling him they didn’t run which Angus respects. Angus jokes with Murtagh and Jamie that Rupert’s blubber protected him and Jamie says, “Aye, the man could eat,” then apologizes for using the past tense.
Claire comes over noticing that it looks like Jamie was stepped on by a horse, and Jamie informs her he was. She hands him a glass jar and tells him to piss so she can see if there is blood in his urine. Jamie then hands it to a wounded English solider to hold while he aims.
This turns into a friendly bet but all the fun is interrupted by Charles who thanks Claire for her work. Charles tells the room the victory has left a damp child on him as they are all brothers. Everyone is uncomfortable and that is when Dougal appears shouting victory and lunging for the wounded English, dirk in hand.
Charles isn’t pleased and brings Dougal to heel telling him the English are also his father subjects and berates him for his “lack of Christian Charity.” Charles then orders Dougal removed from the rolls because there is no room for such men in his army.
Dougal starts to walk out when Jamie intervenes telling Charles that Dougal is a true warrior despite his foolish tongue and suggest promoting him to Captain of the newly created Highlander Dragoons. These dragoons will get 15 horses and men, and they will follow the English and report on position and they will raid their supply lines. Charles likes this but Dougal knows Jamie just effectively got him out of the way. “You champion me and you exile me, both at the same time. That’s a plan worthy of my brother.”
Dougal goes to speak to Angus but the man is slumped over and when Dougal tries to rouse him he falls into Dougal’s arms choking on blood. Claire lifts his shirt and there is a large bruise indicating internal bleeding. The blast of the cannonball caused internal damage. Jamie asks if there is anything Claire can do but there isn’t and she gazes at Angus who is trying to speak though nothing can be made out. Suddenly, it all stops and Angus is gone.
There is a sudden groan and Rupert rises from his bed, going to his fallen friend, he kneels and takes Angus’s sword from its scabbard and moves back to his bed.
Later the men are toasting their victory. Jamie tells Claire she was right about their victory but she points out that means she’s right about Culloden.
Rupert appears drinking and singing with Ross Down Among the Den Men. This is a song about drinking and being among the dean men means empty bottles but it has a sobering double meaning here though the other men would see it as a drinking song.