James Herriot begins his first term at Glasgow Veterinary College. After blundering his way into the case of a suffering dray horse, he learns his first lesson in veterinary medicine: you treat the owner, not the animal.
When a farm is threatened with a deadly disease, James must put aside his prejudices to reunite the family. McAloon spies a lucrative opportunity with the wealthy owners of an ailing sheep, while Whirly has a run-in with Gunnell.
Jenny's parents' fascist sympathies are a cause for concern for Richie when James takes a job at their kennels. Whirly's future at the college comes under threat, and James faces a stark choice that could change the direction of his life.