The Big One, the earthquake that was expected to make Arizona waterfront property, actually arrives, and the small town of Rainbow is demolished. Kate works with the medical teams to care for the injured and dying, but it seems that the survivors are so afraid of each other that there is no communication, and some will steal and even kill to get anything they want, even if it is a torn bridal gown. Kate decides it will be safer to go into the forest to live for a while although she has no way of knowing how long that will be. She meets Sam when she has stolen some of his venison, although she felt she had paid for it with some chocolate and salt.
Sam feels Kate can’t handle living in the forest alone, so he starts checking on her periodically, but he learns that she is doing quite well in spite of having to deal with the vigilantes who have come into the forest to find a gold mine that they believe only requires picking the gold up from the ground. When the vigilantes kill the old couple who own the mine, Kate and Sam step in to try to make the men leave. They feel they have gotten rid of all the men, but one of them manages to escape.