“For centuries humans have held and endless fascination with circles, attributing meaning where they are found. From the eternal rotation of the planets around the sun to the movement of clock hands, to a simple wedding band. And I more than most know full well just how a circle can affect one’s life. Or death."
American the Beautiful opens in 2000 B.C North America where natives are stacking stones around a single stone making what is essentially a circle of standing stones. We see the female natives dancing around the stones that are lite by fire.
We find the Fraser’s in North Carolina in 1767. They’ve been in the colonies for 4 months moving up the coast when Gavin Hayes got himself into trouble. He slept with a married woman and when her husband found them and tried to kill Gavin; he pushed the man down the stairs, killing him. Jamie tried to save Gavin but had no luck with the magistrate.
Jamie goes to see Gavin in jail who is resigned to his fate and doesn’t wish them to interfere with his sentence. Gavin asks for two favors which Jamie agrees to, drawing the attention of another prisoner. Gavin want Jamie to be in front of the crowd being a friend smiling at him.
Jamie goes out and tells Fergus and Lesley they aren’t going to try to free Gavin which is how Gavin wants it. Gavin is brought out to face his fate and Jamie does as promised and stands before Gavin as a friend while Gavin is hung. Lesley gets upset and in the confusion the rest of the prisoners try to escape. Most are caught by the blonde prisoner who was listening to Gavin and Jamie talk in the jail.
The Fraser’s are in a tavern and Jamie says the Campagnia won’t set sail for three weeks which means they have time to go visit Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta. Fergus joins them and tells him the reverend at the local Parrish won’t let a felon be buried without a large bribe. Jamie is upset and they contemplate burying Gavin in the woods by Leslie says Gavin would have been scared to be alone because he’s once encountered a tannasg (a spirit or ghost). Jamie’s plan is to wait until the cover of night before they bury him in the churchyard anyway.
Lesley proceeds to sing a lament for Gavin which the Fraser’s join in on and then the rest of the tavern patrons.
That night they are off to bury Gavin Hayes and Claire comments Lillington’s dinner seems promising for selling on of the gemstones they salvaged from the Artemis. Jamie hopes the gemstones will fetch a good price.
Jamie and Ian go dig Gavin’s grave when Ian has a flashback to being with Geillis Duncan and breaks down. Jamie comes to his aid and tells Ian the only way to take the power from the ghost is to say their name. Ian tells Jamie that Geillis made him do things when he didn’t want to and Jamie tells him that he understands and that none of it is Ian’s fault.
Jamie and Ian go to get Gavin’s body and find the prisoner from the jail in the wagon with Gavin’s body. Jamie throws the man up against the nearby wall and the man says his name is Stephen Bonnet. He says he was being hanged for stealing, piracy, smuggling and more and Jamie wonders how many men he’s killed. Bonnet says none that didn’t try to kill him first.
Jamie tells the man to go his own way and Bonnet asks for some help on a mutual friend’s memory citing that he was friends with Gavin. He then asks to be allowed to aid in burying Gavin.
Jamie and Claire go together to take Bonnet where he wished to go in hopes of not raising suspicions. They are stopped by some British soldiers. They want to know what is in their wagon as they are in search of an escaped felon. Jamie tells them a body which they are taking for burial. The captain has one of the other soldiers stab it to make sure it is dead and the soldiers says it appears to be dead.
When the finally pull over up the road, Claire asks if Bonnet is injured and he says the venison took the brunt of the blow though he was nicked. Claire offers to patch him up while Jamie keeps watch.
Bonnet notices her rings and asks about them. Claire tells him she’s been married twice and Bonnet mentions he’s never been married. He tells her he’s fascinated with infinite circles and she reminds him the noose is also a circle and he’s do well to avoid it.
Bonnet goes on to tell her his real fear is drowning as he has a recurring nightmare about the very thing. Claire tells him she almost drown at sea in a storm and he tells her she understands. Bonnet says friends were going to meet nearby and then warns them about bandits in the woods.
Jamie and Claire don’t want to pass by the Redcoats again so they camp out for the night. Jamie tells Claire that death is a small thing between then and his soul is hers and will be with her after he dies. He says nothing is lost only changed and Claire tells him it is the first law of thermodynamics. They proceed to make love.
In the morning, Jamie wakes to Claire looking out over the hills. She tells him about the great amount of lands that go all the way to the Pacific Ocean. She tells them about all the immigrants coming for the American dream and Jamie asks about the Native people and Claire tells him about the reservations and the killings.
Later in town, Jamie and Claire are getting ready for the Lillington dinner when Jamie pull out the ruby fashioned on a simple mount for her to wear to the dinner. They are hoping the attending Baron will want to purchase the ruby.
At the dinner, Wylie and Stanhope are speaking of taxes. The Baron comments on her stone and wants a closer look but rather than getting closer Claire removes the necklace.
Captain Freeman asks Jamie if he is truly the nephew of Jocasta Cameron and Jamie confirms that he is. Jamie discovers Jocasta Cameron knows a lot of powerful people as the Governor has stayed at River Run.
After dinner Governor Tryon and Jamie talk about the political climate and the Governor tells him they men who are willing to bring other settlers. These men can be granted great amounts of land and Jamie wonders about the taxes that must be paid in coin. The Governor basically tells him these things can be overlooked especially if Jamie will loyally follow the King.
In their bedchamber, Jamie tells Claire they got 100 pounds sterling for the ruby but it annoyed him that the Baron nearly dropped his eyes into her bosom. He was tempted to challenge him and Claire says discretion is the better part of valor though she’s not met a Scot who thinks so.
With the money they got from the sale of the ruby they can book passage back to Scotland many times over and possibly set up shop in Scotland with a printing press. Claire is quiet because she’s thinking about the offer from the Governor which Jamie is also thinking of. Jamie’s betting the Governor is hoping to have Jamie indebted to him by giving him land as the Governor has been having trouble with the Regulator who are men from the countryside who aren’t happy with the tax collectors and are currently taking matters into their own hands.
Claire warns Jamie that the American Revolution is coming up and accepting land from the Governor would mean he was expected to fight for the British who are going to lose the coming war. Jamie doesn’t wish to go to war again but the idea of shaping a country that will one day be Brianna’s home is appealing to Jamie.
The next day, Jamie and Claire find Young Ian with a dog (or wolf) who he’s named Rollo. Young Ian has been dicing and won both the dog and some money. They go inside the tavern and meet the others who they tell they plan to stay in the colonies. Ian is excited by Jamie tells him he’s going back to Scotland.
Jamie gives a portion of the ruby earnings to Fergus and Marsali for their passage home if they so choose. He offers some to Lesley who decides he wants to stay on with Jamie and Claire to help them. Fergus and Marsali wish to stay too because the journey would be hard on Marsali who is pregnant. Everyone is happy and there are congratulations all around.
On the riverboat, Jamie and Claire discuss Jocasta who has been married to three different Cameron men. Claire becomes concerned about the Africa man who is steering the riverboat worrying that an elderly slave is being pushed too hard. The boat captain tells her Eutroclus is a free man after he saved the captains life from a fire. Eutroclus now works for the captain and earns a fair wage.
Later, Jamie pulls Claire aside and gives her a 24th wedding anniversary present which is a doctor’s case he found in a shop. Claire is completely in love with her gift. He tells her he can’t give her much except her ring and his mother’s pearls. She tells him he gave her Brianna who has the pearls since they are an heirloom.
At night they are docked and everyone is asleep when Rollo senses danger and attacks an intruder. The two fall overboard. Stephen Bonnet shows up and his men drag Jamie away and beat him. Young Ian is knocked out and Lesley is killed while Bonnet’s men rob them of all their money and jewels. Bonnet then corners Claire and forces her to remove her rings. She tries to swallow them but Bonnet fishes one out of her mouth and runs off with her ring from Jamie. Bonnet and his men leave and Claire spits up Frank’s gold ring sobbing hysterically.
The Medical Box
Co-Costume Designer Terry Dresbach on creating the new costumes for colonial life: “It was very exciting to design American colonial life. I grew up with various versions and visuals of this time as an American child from my fourth-grade history books, but those versions were very pretty and sanitary. I wanted to design what it really would have looked like; the beginning of the American melting pot, a world made up of the native culture that had been there for thousands of years, and a flood of immigrants from Western Europe, most of whom came with the clothes on their back and not much more. Once I started digging further, all sorts of fascinating information started pouring forth about the trade restrictions placed on America by Britain and how that affected clothing. Americans had to buy fabrics from Britain and export all of the materials for fabric production to Britain. That helped create a fair amount of tension, and the slave states were particularly incensed at having to import wool to clothe the slaves, rather than making cheaper fabric from the cotton they were producing. All of this created yet more small, fascinating puzzle pieces leading to the Revolution of 1776. On the streets of Wilmington there were Native People, the French, Germans, Swedes, the Welsh, Scots, and the Irish. People were poor and had to adapt and assimilate, so the clothing of any one group might be passed to another. There were very few who had the luxury of fine clothing. Much of it was heavy wool and worn linen. People didn’t have multiple changes of clothing, they had one, maybe two. It wasn’t very “pretty”. Clothes were repaired and patched over the course of a lifetime. Garments were expected to last and we worked very hard to show that in America.”