A journalist (Sharon Gless) and a historian (Andy Griffith) interview a current resident (David Janssen) of Centennial who recalls citizens and the rise and fall of the Venneford cattle empire.
As Charlotte crusades for the rights of downtrodden Mexicans, the Grebes' good fortune takes a sudden turn for the worse.
Widow Secombe's (Lynn Redgrave) pending marriage to Lloyd is subject to his romance with Clemma (Cristina Raines); Wendell makes a killing in real estate.
The Wendells (Anthony Zerbe, Lois Nettleton) look for other likely prospects after cheating the Rev. Holly out of his home; the Venneford ranch tries out Hereford cattle on approval.
A blizzard devastates the Venneford ranch; Secombe faces charges of fraud; Levi returns to Pennsylvania for a visit and is shunned by the community.
Sheepman Garrett threatens a range war with landowners Lloyd (William Atherton) and Brumbaugh (Alex Karras). Sheriff Dumire (Brian Keith) refuses to intervene; Lloyd and Brumbaugh fight back.
British investors commission Skimmerhorn (Cliff De Young) to lead a cattle drive through the region between Texas and Colorado.
With settlers fearing attacks, Col. Skimmerhorn (Richard Crenna) forms a private army; placed in charge of the regular government troops, he arrests Maj. Mercy for treason.
McKeag sends his daughter Lucinda to comfort widowed Levi; Congress foils Zendt, McKeag and Maj. Mercy's attempted treaty with the Indians.
Elderly McKeag befriends Zendt (Gregory Harrison) and his wife, Elly (Stephanie Zimbalist), heading from Pennsylvania to Oregon.
Fur trapper Pasquinel makes Clay Basket (Barbara Carrera) his wife after recently marrying Lise; McKeag's fight with Pasquinel's son ends a thriving partnership.
Canadian trapper Pasquinel (Robert Conrad) saves Scottish fugitive McKeag (Richard Chamberlain) from Pawnees then later weds Lise (Sally Kellerman), daughter of a silversmith.