Terra Nova follows an ordinary family on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a daring experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149, the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped and overcrowded, with the majority of plant and animal life extinct. The future of mankind is in jeopardy, and its only hope for survival is in the distant past.
The Shannon family joins the Tenth Pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony established in this beautiful yet foreboding land. Jim Shannon, a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family through this new world of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. Upon the Shannons' arrival, they are introduced to Cmdr. Nathaniel Taylor, the charismatic and heroic first pioneer and leader of the settlement. Taylor warns the travelers that while Terra Nova is a place of new opportunities and fresh beginnings, all is not as idyllic as it initially appears. Along with blue skies, towering waterfalls and lush vegetation, the surrounding terrain is teeming with danger - and not just of the man-eating dinosaur variety. There is also a splinter colony of renegades led by the battle-hardened Mira, who is vehemently opposed to Taylor and his leadership. This is a 2 part episode.
When Elisabeth, Jim, Malcolm and Taylor investigate radio silence at a nearby scientific outpost, they discover an outbreak of a mysterious virus causing memory loss, paranoia and eventually death. The group must work together to find a cure before they lose their sanity and all of Terra Nova is infected.
When an orphaned "Sixer" girl comes to Terra Nova seeking asylum, Jim and Shannon are at odds if they can trust her; Mira plots to reclaim a valued possession; Taylor begins to suspect there is a traitor in his midst and Reynolds admits his feelings for Maddy.
The colony falls victim to its first murder, and Jim and Taylor must find the perpetrator. Also, Skye helps Josh find a way to get Kira, his girlfriend from 2149, to the past, while Elisabeth and Zoe race to help an unborn Ankylosaurus survive.
A crashing meteor wipes out all technology and wreaks havoc on the colony. Meanwhile, Maddy and Reynolds are stuck out in the wilderness, Elisabeth and Skye work together to save a life and Taylor tries to prevent Mira and the "Sixers" from invading Terra Nova. Also, a mystery man makes his presence known.
Maddy starts interning for the colony’s greatest scientist, and her life is put in danger when she discovers a terrible secret. Meanwhile, Josh makes a deal with the devil in order to solidify his plan to bring his girlfriend from the future to Terra Nova.
As Taylor searches for the "Sixer" mole within Terra Nova, Jim stumbles onto an old murder, for which Taylor is the prime suspect.
Taylor and Mira must set aside their differences when they encounter a prehistoric enemy; Jim closes in on the mole.
Lucas races to assemble the final pieces of his mystery device, in advance of the 11th Pilgrimage's arrival. Also, Jim and Taylor confront the colony's "Sixer" mole, Skye is reunited with a familiar face and Terra Nova prepares for war.
In the two-hour Season Finale, the 11th Pilgrimage arrives in Terra Nova and the mysterious Phoenix Group in 2149 makes its move to pillage the past with the help of Lucas and Mira. Meanwhile, Jim and Taylor team up in a last stand against the Phoenix Group, a colonist makes the ultimate sacrifice and a decision is made that will change life in Terra Nova forever.